Why Aussie Sharks Are Attacking

They're probably after whales, not human flesh
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2011 12:36 PM CDT
The teeth and jaw of a Great White Shark are displayed after research into the biological mechanics of the predator July 25, 2007 in Sydney, Australia.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Australia has seen a slew of shark attack deaths lately, with three killed in the past two months, giving rise to fears that a “rogue shark” has developed a taste for human flesh, and is now relentlessly attacking Jaws-style. But that’s preposterous, scientists assure LiveScience. “The chance of an individual shark being involved in all three of these incidences is astronomically low,” one says. “They travel 40 to 50 miles per day.”

“Rogue” sharks aren’t impossible, but they’re incredibly rare, and usually caused by human activity. There’s a simpler explanation for Australia’s attacks: It’s currently whale migration season, and sharks are chasing them. That’s sent many along similar paths, and brought them into contact with unlikely humans. As for why there have been more attacks than usual, researchers speculate that climate changes may be shifting migration closer to shore—even as warmer weather brings more people to beaches.

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