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Open Water - shark facts

Compiled by: Jack Foley

OPEN Water follows An American couple, Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan), who go on an island holiday to get a break from their workaholic lifestyles.

However, during a scuba diving session, the couple find themselves left alone in the middle of the ocean by their tour operator, following a mistake during a head count.

Cold, alone and miles from land they're adrift in shark-infested waters.

Sharks bring with them an innermost fear in everybody. Classics like Jaws portray the creature as a killer, a beast to be feared. But does everybody know the truth?

Here are some facts that you may not have necessarily known:-

1) Sharks can find prey by following the electrical impulses that animals emit, and some species of shark can smell a drop of blood in one million drops of seawater.

2) Sharks have an unlimited supply of teeth that are set in layered rows in the gums. If one tooth falls out, a tooth from another layer takes its place. A shark may shed as many as 50,000 teeth in its lifetime. This is one reason why prehistoric shark teeth are the most commonly found fossils.

3) Sharks never get cancer. Their cartilage is used in being studied with the hope of developing anti-cancer drugs.

4) Sharks have been around for more than 300 million years. They were around before dinosaurs!

5) Sharks' bodies are heavier than the sea, so if they stop moving they sink. If they want to stay afloat, they must keep moving.

6) There are about 350 different types of sharks, but researchers think there are other sharks that haven't been discovered yet.

7) A shark is one of the best hunters in the world. Even their little pups go out looking for food.

8) A shark's hunger can be satisfied with one good meal. The meal can last a long time because a shark uses little energy to swim. Some sharks hold food in their stomachs without it being digested. If they eat a big meal, it can last three or more months.

9) Sharks become immobile when upside down.

10) The Great White shark is the only shark that sticks its head out of the water to look around.

11) Only a few sharks jump out of the water including the biggest great white shark.

12) The Bull shark can live in both salt and fresh water.

13) Tiger sharks will eat anything. Most sharks taste and test things out by tasting them in their mouth, but the difference between Tiger sharks and all others is no matter what it is, the tiger shark will eat it, and eventually will have to throw it up!

14) The Shortfin Mako shark is probably the fastest fish in the ocean, clocked at about 60 mph.


Great White: Best known from the movie Jaws, the Great White is a large, heavy-bodied shark, about 20 feet long, with large bladelike teeth. Widely the most-feared of sharks, Great White attacks are rare, and most scientists agree that its reputation is undeserved. Many scientists believe it is endangered due to sport fishing and shrinking food supplies.

Tiger: The Tiger shark is considered one of the most dangerous sharks. It is about 18 feet long and inhabits shallower water, often where people swim. The diet of tiger sharks varies widely and includes all types of sea life and even garbage.

Blue: The graceful Blue shark is well known to scuba divers and commercial fishers - they have been seen circling divers and have followed fishing boats for days, eating stray fish.

Mako: Short-fin and long-fin Makos are close cousins with the Great White shark. They are very fast swimmers and can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Mako sharks can even leap out of the water.

Hammerhead shark: Hammerheads are best known for their distinctive mallet-shaped heads and widely spaced eyes, which they swing back and forth while swimming to detect prey. They are the only species of shark known to travel in schools.

Bull: The Bull shark gets its name from its snout, which is wider than it is long. It is possibly more dangerous to humans than the Great White shark because it lives in shallow, murky water in areas where people swim. The real shark attacks on which the movie and book Jaws were based were done by a Bull shark.


Provoked attacks are caused by humans touching sharks. Often this involves unhooking sharks or removing them from fishing nets. However, recently there have been a number of incidents involving divers who were attacked after grabbing or feeding a shark while underwater.
Unprovoked attacks happen when sharks make the first contact. This can take three forms:

Hit-and-Run Attacks happen near beaches, where sharks try to make a living capturing fish. In pounding surf, strong currents, and murky water, a shark may mistake the movements of humans, usually at the surface, for those of their normal food, fish. The shark makes one grab, lets go, and immediately leaves the area. Legs or feet are often bitten; injuries usually are minor and deaths rarely occur.

Sneak Attacks take place in deeper waters. The victim doesn't see the shark before the attack. The result can be serious injury or death, especially if the shark continues to attack.

Bump-and-Bite Attacks happen when the shark circles and actually bumps the victim with its head or body before biting. As in the sneak attack, the shark may attack repeatedly and cause serious injury or death.


You are over 1,100 times more likely to die in a bicycle accident then in a shark attack.

Your odds of a drowning death - 1 in 3m
Your odds of a shark attack Death - 1 in 265m

Number of 'unprovoked' shark attacks:
Year 2003: 55 shark attacks - 4 fatalities
Year 2002: 63 shark attacks - 3 fatalities
Year 2001: 68 shark attacks - 4 fatalities
Year 2000: 79 shark attacks - 11 fatalities

More than 90% of people who are attacked by sharks survive the attack.

Sharks attack more men than women. No one knows why this is the case!

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