One of summer's most anticipated binge-watching events is ready to unleash over the nation's TV sets with a sharp bite. That's right, Shark Week 2014 is here.
Starting on Sunday, Aug. 10, the Discovery Channel will feature content completely devoted to sharks, heightening the fear of many who relish spending summer days in the ocean.
Shark attacks, though a rare phenomenon, garner huge attention and further radiate ripples of fear through those who have contact with ocean waters. Here is what you need to know before settling in for a week full of shark entertainment:
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1. Shark Attacks are the Number One Fear of AccuWeather Readers
In a poll, AccuWeather.com readers were asked what their highest concern was when heading to the beach this summer. Over 29 percent of voters declared being attacked by a shark as their top worry. Shark attacks are an uncommon occurrence, yet beachgoers fear interacting with a shark more than hazardous bacteria, rip currents and other potentially dangerous factors. In fact, you are nearly eight percent more likely to be killed in a boating accident than by a shark.
A shark attack is classified as an interaction between humans and sharks that results in significant or life-threatening injuries and an occasional death. If looming sharks still bring uneasiness and anxiety, there are tips for keeping the threat of a shark attack at the absolute minimum.
Other than staying on the sand, humans can take preventative measures to ensure sharks do not confuse them for their usual fish dinner.
1. Avoid being in the water between sunset and sunrise.
2. Stay in a group and do not wander too far from shore.
3. Avoid wearing shiny jewelry; the reflected light resembles fish scales.
4. Avoid brightly colored or patterned clothing, as sharks can see contrast well.
5. Do not enter waters being used by sport or commercial fisherman.
6. Avoid entering waters with sewage output and/or entering the water if you are bleeding.
If sharks are the cause of any beach worry, avoid traveling to New Smyrna Beach near Daytona, Florida, where shark attacks occur more than any other location in the world. Florida beaches have proven to be some of the most dangerous hot spots for sharks to bite. From 2004-2013, Florida had almost two times the amount of shark attacks than the entire country of Australia.
On the other side of the U.S., the California coastline area known as the "red triangle," from San Francisco to the Farallon Islands and down to Monterey, is notorious for sharks.
Like humans, various sharks are sensitive to water temperature and will adjust their behaviors based on the change in warm and cool ocean waters.
"Species of sharks tend to stay in their temperature range," said Nikki Grandinetti, the curator of fish and invertebrates at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey.
Sharks will also change locations based on food supply. In the summer when larger areas of the East Coast feature warmer waters, adult sandbar sharks will trek up as far as New England in the hunt for seals, especially in the Cape Cod area.
Researchers in Massachusetts planted a camera 300 feet underwater to better study shark behavior and a great white shark saw an opportunity to display the strength of its teeth.
The scientists were shocked by the immense force of a great white shark's bite, which dented the underwater drone. In this video, the shark swims near the camera before pouncing on it, biting with a force of two tons per square inch.
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