Oh no ... sharks DO like the taste of human flesh

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ACCORDING to Southern Cross University shark expert Dr Daniel Bucher it is not true sharks don't like the taste of human flesh.

He said there was no evidence to support this claim, which he believed gained acceptance to allay people's fears of shark attack.

"Normally they eat fish, but they don't mind red meat if they can get it," he said.

"Seals have very red meat (like humans) from oxygen binding proteins in the blood

"Great white sharks feed on seals."

Other species likely to gnaw on a human were Tiger sharks.

Dr Bucher said this species was known as the garbage bins of the sea, meaning they will eat virtually anything.

Bull sharks too would happily attack humans.

"They are scavengers. In flood times they will eat any carrion (decaying flesh of dead animals) that washes down."

"Sharks don't mind. To them it's just food."

Another species partial to human flesh were whalers.

Because most shark attacks on humans involved a single bite people deduced sharks did not enjoy taste and attacks were a case of mistaken identity, Dr Bucher said.

However, it was more likely the sharks were taking an exploratory bite to see what the object was.

And if it fought back, which would usually be the case, this might put the shark off from proceeding with the attack.

"They are trying to work out if it's alive, whether it will fight back,"he said.

He said a shark would weigh up the risk of attacking and depending on how hungry it was would attack, or not.

Most sharks attack from the back.

"Act aggressively, swim at it, attack it," he said.

"It might be enough to put it off."

But of course, the risk of shark attack is very low. And as Dr Bucher pointed out, you have more chance of dying from a car crash on your way to the beach.

Topics:  dr daniel bucher, editors picks, sharks



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