Tuesday 22 September 2020

Tourist attacked by Shark off Florida Keys.

A tourist has been attacked by a Shark while snorkeling in the Florida Keys on the morning of Sunday 20 September 2020, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Charles Eddy, 30, was bitten on the shoulder by a 2.8-3.0 m Shark shortly after entering the water from a vessel close to Sombrero Key Light, offshore of Vaca Key. He received what have been described as 'severe' injuries, and was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center in Maimi. The Shark is believed to have been a Bull Shark, Carcharhinus leucas, a species noted for its aggresive behaviour, as several boaters had reported seeing a similar-sized member of this species in the area shortly before the attack.

A Bull Shark, Carcharhinus leucas, in the Bahamas. Albert Kok/Wikimedia Commons.

Despite their fearsome reputation, attacks by Sharks are relatively rare. Most attacks on Humans by Sharks are thought to be mistakes, made by species that feed principally on Marine Mammals (which we superficially resemble when we enter the water), gaining the majority of their nutrition from the thick adipose (fat) layers of these animals (which we lack). Due to this, when Sharks do attack Humans these attacks are often broken off without the victim being consumed. Such attacks frequently result in severe injuries, but are seldom immediately fatal, with victims likely to survive if they receive immediate medical attention.

Bull Sharks, Carcharhinus leucas, are a form of Requiem Shark, Carcharhinidae, reaching about four metres in length at their largest. They have a reputation for aggressive behaviour, and are one of the species most prone to attacking Humans, though this is not because they are more hostile towards us than other Shark species, but because they inhabit environments where they are more likely to encounter us, favouring shallow inshore waters, and sometimes entering freshwater systems, which most Sharks shun (Bull Sharks have been encountered in the Mississippi River as far inland as southern Illinois). These Sharks are also territorial, and may lash out if they feel their territory is being invaded.

See also...





Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.