Find out more about these bloodthirsty predators of the ocean!
One of the biggest fears for those entering Australia’s beaches and reefs are sharks, with few animals as terrifying to humans as these looming predators of the sea. But if you read into it, sharks are not the mindless killers we make them out to be and can easily be avoided during your Aussie holiday.
About the Sharks
Australia has the highest diversity of sharks on earth, with 180 of the 509 species of sharks roaming the Aussie waters. However, the majority of these creatures are non-threatening to humans, with only the larger great whites and tiger sharks known to attack humans.
Where are they found in Australia?
Statistically, the large treacherous sharks are mainly found in the Southern Parts and Western parts of Australia, particularly in the New South Wales and Western Australia. They are mainly attracted to these regions for food, as the colder water temperatures are home to both seal and penguin colonies, as well as large fish schools. All these creatures swim close to shore, bringing the sharks in nearer to the coast where they can interact with humans. Although sharks do appear in the Great Barrier Reef at times, the most common sharks found here are typically harmless to humans. Such as blacktip reef sharks, grey whaler reefs sharks, leopard sharks, epaulette sharks and wobbegong sharks.
Why you Shouldn’t Worry
Statistically, you have about a 1 in 3,748,067 chance that you will die from a shark attack. You are more likely to be crushed to death under a falling vending machine or from a cow that collapses on top of you, it is even more likely to die from a dog attack than a shark. However, the reason for folk to believe there are sharks just waiting for you to put a toe into the Australian beaches before pouncing is due to the media and fear that had shaped the reputation of these creatures. Most of the time, the shark attack incidents are random, with the shark making an investigatory bite usually mistaking surfers or those with wetsuits for seals.
In the Great Barrier Reef, seeing a shark is instead an exciting experience rather than a horrendous event, all due to the species covering the region. Most of the time, these reef sharks are harmless to humans, with the only very rare incidents being if an individual provokes the creatures, such as grabbing hold of them or trying to feed one. In general, snorkelling and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef is very safe from sharks and seeing a reef-dwelling shark can, in fact, be a highlight of any reef trip.