Human beachgoers have been panicking over recent shark sightings on the Northeast—a beach in Cape Cod was briefly shut down last week after a shark was spotted snacking on a seal, for instance, one on Long Island was evacuated last month after two sharks paid the coastline a visit, and two were seen at beaches on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens this week. Still, experts say we needn't fear sharks are lusting after our delicious limbs—apparently, sharks in our area aren't particularly fond of attacking humans.
CBS News spoke with shark expert Jim Gelsleichter, who says sharks don't typically bother swimmers up here. "Overall, the risk that sharks pose to the typical bather is very low,” Gelsleichter said. “The hammerheads I’ve always found to be actually not as threatening as they look." Indeed, though it's alarming to find a fin bobbing up next to you in Far Rockaway, sharks kill about 10 humans a year, so though attacks can happen, they are much more rare than, say, contracting Lyme disease or getting struck by a driver.
Not that you should attempt to make your local Great White a pet—you should not enter the ocean if you see a shark swimming nearby, and if you do spot a neighboring fin, you should swim away from it and keep an eye on it while you do so. Sharks also actively feed in the early mornings and late afternoons, and they're attracted to blood and shiny jewelry, so avoid swimming with your bling on and keep your bleeding wounds away from the water.
Remember that sharks are essential to our ecosystem and they're endangered worldwide, so as uncomfortable as you might feel about going BACK IN THE WATER, it's better to be a little scared of a few sharks than live in a world with no sharks at all. Besides, the seals have it way harder.