Australia Looking Out For White Pointer Sharks
Despite the fact that Florida has way more shark encounters in a given year, it's Australia that's on high alert now, after three non-fatal attacks in the past 48 hours. Those come just weeks after a man disappeared near Perth, on December 27, in what authorities say was a deadly attack by a white pointer, which is another name for a great white.
The three latest incidents are scattered elsewhere around the giant continent. The first happened near Fingal Head in northern New South Wales on Sunday, when a surfer was bitten on the thigh. That same day, in Binalong Bay in Tasmania, a 13-year-old girl was attacked and rescued by her cousin while a shark circled below.
A third assault was also in NSW, in the tidal Lake Illawarra. A swimmer fended off what's believed to be a bull shark by punching it in the nose. (Eye gouging, you'll recall, is also a good way to fight off fish.)
Luckily, the fear of shark attacks is much, much bigger than the actual chances you'll fall victim to one. (Thanks, Spielberg.) The Florida Museum of Natural History, which obsessively tracks such things, says just 71 "unprovoked attacks" occurred worldwide in 2007, 32 of which happened in Florida. How reassuring!