Hotdogs kill more people per year than sharks, and other cool facts

Posted on 11 August 2022 By Anita Froneman

By now, we know that sharks are not the mindless killing machines that horror movies once depicted. In fact, a report by the Save Our Seas Foundation states that globally, about 70 people die each year after choking on a hotdog, while just 10 people per year die as a result of shark attacks.

‘Every year, an estimated 236,000 deaths by drowning occur around the globe, along with over 1.3 million fatal traffic accidents. Indeed, drives to and from the beach pose a bigger threat to your life than sharing the water with sharks,’ reads the report, titled Why do sharks bite people? by wildlife expert Sarah Keartes.

We know that humans are not on the list of favourite foods for sharks, and so sharks are very unlikely to bite humans in order to eat them. But then the question remains, why do shark attacks still occur from time to time?

Dr Alison Kock, Save Our Seas Foundation project leader says that one reason sharks might bite humans is to determine what it is.  ‘This could explain why, in many cases, a white shark has bitten lightly and let go,’ she says, noting that most white shark incidents involve bites of minimal force. So, because sharks are curious and don’t often have to worry about other predators, they are likely to try and find out what an unusual shape, like a human, might be.

Another potential reason might be that a shark can mistake a human for something else, like a seal. ‘A large number of bites occur when water conditions are poor, which could indicate that factors like low visibility and background noise from heavy surf make it harder to distinguish prey from non-prey,’ the article adds.

And in the Western Cape specifically, we have other things to worry about when it comes to sharks, like the decrease in great white sightings due to orcas hunting them.

READ: Where did the Cape’s great whites go? A new study has the answers

If you’re concerned about encountering a shark in the ocean, a few good safety guidelines are to always heed signs and warnings by authorities like Shark Spotters, don’t swim in poor conditions and avoid swimming in areas known to be populated by species that sharks prey on, like seals.

Picture: Getaway gallery

ALSO READ: Rare video of orcas killing great white shark in Mossel Bay


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