Go ahead, get in the water. Take in the sight and sounds of the surf beating against the rocks along the shoreline as gulls and other sea birds fly overhead. The sun is bright and it’s the perfect day to step into the ocean for an exhilarating swim. Never mind those sharks lurking just under the surface of the water, they’re just chilling… This is the scene you might encounter in numerous parts of the world where shark attacks are almost commonplace. But sharks aren’t the only danger in the water!
Most of us are familiar with the movie Jaws which caused wide-spread panic around the world, bringing the Great White into focus as nothing more than a killing machine. Shark attacks happen around the globe, but contrary to popular belief, the Great White is not the only species of shark to be worried about. The tiger shark and bull shark, as well as the Great White, rank among the deadliest. If you’re confronted by a shark, the best counter-attack is to punch it in the nose until it goes away. If he chomps down on you, go for the eyes and gills. If all these efforts fail, well, it was nice knowing you.
According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), the top three places in the world for shark attacks are New South Wales, Australia, South Africa, and Volusia County, Florida in the United States. Also on the list are Brazil, Papua New Guinea, and several other states in the USA. It seems nowhere is safe these days. Perhaps you’d like to try out that new chain-mail body suit before you take the plunge. Yes, there is such a thing.
Sharks are not the only thing you should be wary of when swimming in the ocean. The Box jellyfish is one of the most venomous creatures in the world and can grow up to 10 feet in length. You might want to avoid the north east coast of Australia where these ghosts of the ocean flourish. Their sting can be fatal and the pain is excruciating.
How about a dip in the Amazon River? How about not. There are all kinds of creepy creatures in the Amazon River that have no fear and are always looking for something different on the menu. These not-so-cute-and-cuddly creatures include the electric eel, caimans, and yes, even leeches with fangs. That’s a movie waiting to be made. The most infamous creature of the Amazon is the voraciously hungry red-bellied piranha
However, the piranha is not the man-eating fish portrayed in movies. They are scavengers and are generally timid. You should be much more wary of those electric eels and caimans.
If you plan on taking to the water along the gulf coast or the Carolinas of the United States, the cottonmouth water moccasin can end your day abruptly with one lethal bite. Within two hours you could be stone cold dead and the snake will be no worse for wear. You definitely don’t want to be swimming under overhanging branches. A cottonmouth could be kicking back, soaking up some sun, and when it detects movement, may drop in the water where you are obliviously playing Marco Polo. The game is no longer fun when a cottonmouth decides to join in.
Now with all this knowledge, doesn’t it make you want to go for a swim? Maybe the hotel pool is a safer bet. Just be sure to check for sharks first!