Sharks Go On Spring Break Too!

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  • Author: Mark M
  • Press: Shark Magazine
  • Date: Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Early in March, tens of thousands – and I’m estimating here because the Internet won’t give me a straight answer – of students head to Florida for spring break. They are looking for a nice, warm area with plenty of seafood, and maybe… a little nookie. Interestingly, sharks do exactly the same thing.

This shark spring break is actually part of their migration pattern to the north for the summer. The most common sharks are blacktip and spinner are most common, with some hammerhead, bull, lemon, and tiger sharks mixed in. And their travels actually take them quite close to shore where they can find fish to eat.

Blacktip sharks have never been responsible for a fatal attack in the Florida area, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The spinner shark is similar to the blacktip shark and do not normally attack humans.

The tens of thousands of sharks move together in a large mass, pushing forward to get into the stream of warm water. Similar to humans, sharks have preferences for certain temperatures and conditions and are in a rush to get there. During this traffic jam of sharks, mating is very common. Apparently, they have found a more pleasing way to spend the commute than the humans.

This year, the migration was slightly later, due to changing water temperatures. The timing put their travels past Florida right around spring break. Florida is the US state with the largest number of shark attacks – currently at the highest in twelve years.

The common sharks in this migration are not usually attracted to humans, which is very lucky for our students. Shark bites from these sharks are generally due to a shark attracted to movement or a nearby fish that is in its natural diet. If one of these species does bite a human, it generally realizes its mistake and lets go. Regardless of not being the natural food source for blacktip and spinner sharks, humans should be careful and aware as they take to the waters through the spring. Even if a shark lets go, the bite can do significant damage to human tissue leading to excessive blood loss, and possibly death.

The other sharks in the mix, hammerhead, bull, lemon, and tiger sharks are more dangerous. They may not actively seek humans as prey, but if they feel attacked, they will fight aggressively to defend themselves. These are the types of sharks that are responsible for some human deaths related to shark attacks. Because they may be a part of the migration, extra awareness and caution is advised.

In other words, sharks will be swimming in warm water, having sex, and gorging on seafood as they migrate… similar to what students on spring break will be doing. Students just have to add one more activity to their list: be mindful of murky water and aware that sharks are on spring break as well and do not like their activities to be interrupted.

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