It's everyone's favorite week of summer. When it comes to sharks, they have a bad rep and come with a lot of misconceptions. Here is a list of myths about the ocean's favorite predator.
Sharks are attracted to human blood.
If you are bleeding get out of the water ASAP or a shark will find you. The myth says that sharks are attracted to human blood. This is not the case. Sharks are attracted to fish blood and fish scent, but not humans.
Sharks have a small brain and as a result are dumb.
Back in the day sharks were considered dumb creatures, but today scientists have realized they are one of the most intelligent animals in the ocean. The size of their brain compared to their body is average compared to most mammals and birds.
If you encounter a shark punch it in the nose.
David Shiffman, Ph.D, a shark conservation biologist pointed out the difficulties with this idea. Punching underwater is quite difficult with the drag of the water on your hand. Instead, he says to jab your finger in the shark's eye.
This myth has been debunked countless times. Most shark attacks occur out of pure curiosity. In 117 years there have only been 25 unprovoked shark attacks in New Jersey, only 5 of them fatal. The last one was in 2013 in Bay Head and the last fatal attack was in 1926. The odds are in your favor...
Sharks have to swim or they will die.
The myth goes, sharks need to keep swimming in order to breathe. They need constant motion to keep water passing over their gills. Not true. Some sharks such as nurse and angel use a method called buccal breathing. The shark uses the muscles around their mouth to pull water over their gills.