A man was bitten, by what most likely was a shark, earlier this week in the waters off Daytona Beach, Florida.
The 33-year-old-man from Orlando, Florida, was in waist-deep water in a popular area of Daytona Beach when he was bitten on the right foot, “presumably by a shark,” said Tamra Malphurs, Deputy Chief Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The man was taken to the hospital, although his injuries were not life-threatening, Malphurs continued.
This is the sixth shark bite of 2022 in what is sometimes referred to as the “Shark Bite Capital of the World.” Tests performed at local hospitals confirm that most of the bites are from blacktip sharks, according to the Miami Herald.
All About Blacktip Sharks
Blacktip sharks, named for the black markings on the tips of their fins, are often found in Florida’s coastal waters, bays, and estuaries. They are active, fast swimmers who generally eat fish, however, their diet also includes small sharks, some rays and skates, squid, crabs, octopus, and lobster, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Adult male blacktip sharks found near the southeastern U.S. are typically just under 5 feet long and weigh about 43 pounds, the Florida Museum of Natural History explains. Adult females, on the other hand, are generally a little longer than 5 feet and weigh about 55 pounds.
“They are generally timid, but because they forage in shallower waters less than 100 feet deep, they are frequently encountered by humans,” according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. “This has resulted in a few bites that are cases of mistaken identity where the shark mistakes a swimmer, or a surfer’s arm or leg, for a prey item.”
The Shark Bite Capital Of The World
Florida has led the world for years as the place where the most shark bites occur. In fact, there were 28 unprovoked shark bites in Florida last year compared to 19 in the rest of the U.S. and 26 outside of the U.S., according to data from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF).
What’s more, of Florida’s 28 unprovoked shark bites, 63 percent — or 17 bites — took place in Volusia County, which includes Daytona Beach.
The ISAF explains that there are two reasons why so many unprovoked shark bites occur in Florida. First, Florida has the second-highest rate of population growth in the U.S., ISAF notes. Secondly, going to the beach is an increasingly popular activity. The combination means the number of people at beaches in Florida continues to grow quickly.
As you may suspect, most — 51 percent — of the people receiving unprovoked shark bites in Volusia County were surfers and people participating in board sports.
The reason surfers and boarders are so frequently bitten by sharks is that they are on the water in and around surf zones. “This thin strip of water, where inbound waves that may have traveled for hundreds of miles finally snag on the rising coastal sea floor and topple over, creates the perfect environment for surfers and sharks alike,” ISAF explains.
How To Stay Safe In The Ocean
ISAF offers a number of tips on ways to decrease the chances of being bitten by a shark, including to avoid splashing in open water because sharks may mistake that activity for that of a struggling fish. Other tips to avoid the risk of being bitten by a shark are to stay close to shore, avoid swimming at dusk or dawn, and don’t swim around schools of fish or where people are fishing.
You can find more tips for being safe and decreasing the chances of being bitten by a shark here.
For more about sharks, be sure to also read: