You’re More Likely to Be Injured By a Toilet Than a Shark

Sharks are in the news again, and it could only spell trouble. As summer quickly approaches, the media is telling us that sharks are scary and dangerous creatures. But that sensational shark portrayal is missing a big part of the picture. Sharks need to be more afraid of us than the other way around.

It Was “Like a Scene Out of ‘Jaws’”

As reported in NBC News, two North Carolina teenagers recently lost their limbs in shark attacks. A witness at the scene described the event “like a scene out of ‘Jaws.’” Witnesses were screaming and forcing innocent bystanders out of the water.

Both attacks occurred at Oak Island, and the shark attacks were approximately less than an hour and a half apart. It’s unclear how many sharks were involved in the attacks. Both teenagers survived and are recuperating.

I think we can all agree that any shark-involved death or injury†is a tragedy. But here’s what these stories fail to mention: sharks aren’t as scary as these stories make them out to be. Take these facts from National Geographic TV, for example:

– You have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu and a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark during your lifetime.

– More than 17,000 people die from falls each year. Thatís a 1 in 218 chance over your lifetime, compared to a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark.

– In 1996, toilets injured 43,000 Americans a year. Sharks injured 13.

– In 1996, buckets and pails injured almost 11,000 Americans. Sharks injured 13.

– In 1996, 2600 Americans were injured by room fresheners. Sharks injured 13.

That’s right — your toilet is more dangerous than a shark.

6 Reasons Sharks Should be More Afraid of Humans

Toilet humor aside, what humans do to sharks year-round is far less funny. Human activities contribute to 100 million shark deaths every single year. To wrap your head around this figure, VisionDive says “each second 3 sharks are killed by humans!” Shark extinction is a real possibility as naturally low shark birth rates can’t keep up with these outrageous death rates. And, unlike other sea creatures, sharks are afforded little to no protection.

Here are six reasons why sharks need to be more afraid of us, than the other way around:

1. Finning: This has to be one of the most inhumane crimes against our wildlife of our time. For a bowl of soup, fully conscious sharks have their fins removed and are tossed back into the ocean to die long and painful deaths. Finning alone is responsible for 73 million sharks deaths every year.

2. Hunting: Hunting sharks for sport is a popular and perfectly legal practice in some countries, including the United States. For example, Maine hosts a shark hunting expedition with the pathetic allure of catching Jaws. In some parts of the world, sharks are hunted for their mercury rich meat.

3. Fishing Industry: The fishing industry is notorious for hurting sharks in two main ways. Sharks are accidentally caught as bycatch, or in other words “sharks are often accidentally caught up in fishing nets and on lines,” explains Defenders. Fishermen also purposely kill sharks, because they’re perceived as “competition” for fish.

4. Shark Byproducts: Some cultures believe that shark parts can benefit humans, e.g. increased fertility. Shark liver oil, known as Squalene, today, is a popular shark byproduct used in cosmetics and lotions. Squalene can also be packaged in pill form for unproven health benefits.

5. Habitat: Pollution, habitat loss and environmental degradation are hurting sharks and shark habitat. Development along the coast conflicts with natural shark habitat as, “Many shark species use inshore coastal and estuarine habitats as a safe place for finding food, giving birth and growing up away from predators and competitors,” reports Shark Savers. Thanks to us, sharks have also accumulated mercury, DDT and organochlorines in their bodies, and they’re constantly exposed to lethal plastic junk.

6. Souvenirs: Apparently collecting shark body parts, such as sharks’ teeth or jaws, is a popular trend in some countries, including in the United States.

While there’s no doubt that Jaws is a scary fictional character, a little digging shows that sharks aren’t as deadly as we think. But the ways humans exploit sharks are much scarier than any “Jaws” scene. Let’s keep that in mind this summer.

Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina

119 comments

Paula A
Paula A2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Sue H
Sue H2 months ago

I will not fear my toilet!

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natasha p
.about a year ago

omg

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Angela AWAY
Angela K3 years ago

Thank you

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Muff-Anne York-Haley

Sharks are cool!

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Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege3 years ago

Thank you. But guess who's the most likely to attack. Man of course.

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Elaine Bauer
Elaine Bauer3 years ago

Sharks, wolves, "pitbulls", sea lions, cormorants - I guess some people just have to hate, and kill. Who is the most dangerous predator?!??

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John W.
3 years ago

Just a tip. If you don’t want to be injured by sharks DON'T SWIM IN WATER WHERE THERE ARE SHARKS. It's really not hard to figure out 😑

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The J.
Vikram S3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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