Gentlemen might prefer blondes ... but sharks prefer gentlemen. Bond University in Queensland, Australia determined that sharks are nine times more likely to kill men than women.
As far as unprovoked (you know, the kind where you aren't poking it) shark attacks go, 84 percent are of men and 89 percent of shark bite deaths are also xy. It seems women are not only more likely to avoid an attack, but also to live through an attack if it does occur.
The researchers focused on unprovoked attacks because people actually provoke sharks quite often. Daryl McPhee, a researcher on the study, told The Telegraph that provoked attacks are more common than one might imagine, "People patting sharks on the head, making them angry, putting their hand in the shark's mouth to get a fishing hook out. Jumping on sharks and trying to ride them. There are provoked shark attacks that should win Darwin Awards."
McPhee said his findings in regards to gender surprised him, "Potentially men spend more time in the water, and are more risk-prone." He told 97.1 ABC Gold Coast, "There's probably more man hours in the water so to speak than women hours globally. Also it may well be tied to males being more risk-prone than females."
Overall, shark attacks have been on the rise, tripling from 1982 to 2011. Australia has the most shark attack deaths, 32, followed by 28 in South Africa and 25 in the United States. While the U.S. has relatively few deaths from shark attacks, they experience a record 769 attacks in general. Australia had 171 attacks and 132 in South Africa. This means the highest chance of surviving a shark attack is in the States, but so is the highest risk of being bitten.
McPhee believes that the size of the shark also plays a role. In the States, you might be more likely to get bitten by a smaller shark that does less damage than in Australia, where sharks kill almost 19 percent of humans they attack. Australia is home to a number of great white, bull and tiger sharks, and white sharks attack most frequently. The bite of a great white shark is 360 pounds while a bull shark has the strongest bite, 478 pounds. Even though Australia houses many of these creatures, this summer, great white sharks made a strange turn for the Texas coast, outside of their usual migration pattern. Another great white tried to eat a robot in Cape Cod.
So, if you do decide to provoke a shark, at least make it a whale shark. They don't eat humans and its technically legal to ride them in Florida, though we don't recommend it. (But seriously, don't mess with sharks.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.