7 Signs A Shark Might Bite

7 Signs A Shark Might Bite

And how to prevent it!

There's a whole lot of other things that can kill you besides a shark - you've seen the ridiculous (but entirely true) statistics about the likelihood of getting bitten by a shark and the likelihood of everyday things to seriously maim or kill you instead, such as vending machines, cows, and driving your car. Your car isn't unknown, so it's not scary - sharks, however, are. As a self-proclaimed fish nerd, there's a few things you should know about shark bites, though, to know they aren't mindless killers.

1. Feeling a bump.

This is a common theme of shark bites. Watch any documentary about shark attack survivors, and at least one always says they feel a bump or two before the attack happens. If you feel some kind of large creature bump into you, that might just be a shark trying to figure out what you are. Aside from the typical "Jaws" style fin sighting, that's pretty much a way to know if one is in the area taking a curiosity to humans. If someone near you audibly says they felt something bump them (and it wasn't another person) - it's probably a good idea to move away/inland.

2. Body language.

If you're in water and can see a shark, watch it's body language. Sharks will appear to puff themselves up when they're being aggressive, typically with their pectoral fins pointing downward. It's worthy to note however, according to some studies, these visible "hunches" can last a different amount of time per shark species.

Sharks, when feeling threatened, also tend to exaggerate their swimming posture, and can be quite skittish or jumpy, depending on the species. All of these behaviors noted are aggressive behaviors if a particular animal is taking an interest in you.

3. Don't swim near food.

Seal colony nearby? Bad idea. Large shoal of fish nearby? Probably best to keep your distance a bit. Even if sharks aren't nearby, there are plenty of shallow to mid-water predators that pose a threat to you. These include young and sub-adult barracudas, morays, shark pups and young adults, and needlefish - some species don't necessarily blatantly attack. Needlefish have been known to be particularly skittish, and have reportedly punctured the organs of snorkelers in the past.

4. Know the species in the area.

Pictured is the usual suspect in shark attacks - bull sharks. Bull sharks are one of the reasons you need to know what shark species are nearby. Male bull sharks have the highest testosterone level than any other species on the planet. Female bull sharks (according to Scientific American) have higher testosterone levels than bull elephants during mating season. In other words, that's why they typically are the culprit in shark attacks. Wherever you are going, find out if bull sharks are around or have been sighted recently. Other common suspects are the Tiger Shark, Oceanic White Tip, and Great White. Most other shark species typically don't attack humans.

5. Don't swim in a hotspot/areas with certain activity.

Lot of sharks known to be in the area? Don't go. Really. Don't. If you see dolphins and birds - avoid that area. In the end, they're looking for the same thing: food. If fish in the area seem to be evading a predator, you may just want to assume the predator is a shark. Don't go near fishing boats, either - fishing boats represent food. If a shark attack has occurred there recently, don't go.

6. Avoid triggers.

Splashing a lot is a bad idea. Being near a dog swimming in the ocean (splashing a lot) is a bad idea. Sharks have a sixth sense of receptors, as you probably know, to detect changes in water activity and electromagnetic fields. This system is known as the ampullae of Lorenzini - this system is among the most sensitive parts of a shark, and it is crucial to their survival and detecting prey. Simply put: don't be mistaken as prey, as most sharks simply bite and don't actually consume the victims.

Another big trigger is shiny objects, like jewelry, or bleeding of any kind. And make sure you don't make a silhouette of a seal - surfboards can make you look strangely similar.

7. Swim at certain times of the day with a group.

Swimming at dawn or dusk increases the likelihood of an attack. And when you're swimming, always swim with a group. Certain times of the year, in addition, can increase the likelihood of being attacked due to pups frequenting shallower water just after mating seasons.

Sharks aren't mindless killers - they are calculated predators that are simply trying to survive. You're in their home - and it's best you learn their ways of life.

Stay safe, swimmers!

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

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This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

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The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Second Person Has Achieved Long-Term Remission Of The HIV Virus

A second man has had long term remission of the HIV virus.


Over a decade after the first man, known as the Berlin Patient, was declared HIV-free, another patient may also be cured. Though it's too early for scientists to say for sure, the London Patient has been in a long term remission for around 18 months without the help of medication. Both men were treated with a bone marrow transplant. However, these stem cells carried a rare mutation in the genes that affect the production of the CCR5 protein, which HIV viruses latch onto to enter the cell. The virus cannot latch onto the mutated version of the protein, thus blocking its entry into the cells.

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After the Berlin Patient went into remission, scientists tried and failed to replicate the cure and were unable to until the London Patient, whose HIV count has reduced into undetectable numbers. While this is extremely helpful, bone marrow transplants are not a viable option to cure all HIV infected people, as it is an extremely risky process and comes with many side effects. Even so, scientists are developing ways to extract bone marrow from HIV infected people, genetically modifying them to produce the same mutations on the CCR5 gene or the inability to express that gene at all, and then replacing it back into the patient so they can still build resistance without the negative effects of a bone marrow transplant. There have also been babies whose genomes have been edited to remove the CCR5 gene, allowing them to grow up resistant to HIV.

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Of these patients, number 19, known as the Dusseldorf Patient, has been off anti-HIV drugs for 4 months. It may not be a complete cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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