Everyone who has read the best selling novel Jaws by Peter Benchley or has seen the subsequent 1975 adaptation of the same name directed by Steven Spielberg has been left with a bit of a trauma in what regards sharks. The movie depicts great white sharks as being ferocious animals which have no problem in eating humans alive. This has led to white sharks being pictured as man eaters in the public mind. However, things are not always the way they seem. These sharks are known to be the largest extant macropredatory fish in the world, being also one of the primary predators of marine animals. While several attacks on humans have been registered, people are actually not their favorite course.
It is true that these sharks have killed humans. However, they do not typically target them. For instance, 31 confirmed attacks against humans have been confirmed in the Mediterranean Sea in the last 2 centuries. Most of these attacks were not fatal and seemed to have been “test bites”. This is because every great white shark is a test biter, grabbing buoys, flotsam, surfboards and other unfamiliar objects in order to identify them. Humans make no exception. Other attacks have been caused by the sharks believing that a bather’s or surfer’s silhouette is from a seal. Moreover, some scientists have even reached the conclusion that these sharks do not like the taste of human flesh. Not only do sharks attack people, but also boats. These attacks are infrequent, but can still lead to the boats sinking. In captivity, white sharks do not live long. While they can have a life span of over 30 years in their natural habitat, they barely live 16 days in captivity.
Even though great white sharks have an infamous reputation, people seem to be attracted by them. Tourists are very appealed by these predators and are often unaware of the danger they pose. Diving neat sharks of most species is safe, but diving with these great whites requires great care. People who want to see these sharks up close should not do it without being “locked” within a steel cage. This is why cage diving has become very popular, especially in the waters of South Africa, South Australia, and Guadalupe Island. In relation to people, great white sharks are not to be messed with. While some people claim that shark attacks on humans are not common, these predators can still grab humans in an instance and play with them as if they were toys.