Flickr users Nicolas Vigier, Stever Garner
Yesterday, Sullivan’s Island officials confirmed that a man received non-life-threatening injuries following a run-in with a shark in the ocean near Station 22 St. As we dare to go back in the water this summer and stories spread of aquatic attacks at U.S. beaches, it’s important to maintain perspective.
According to the International Shark Attack File managed by the Florida Museum of Natural History — the longest running database on shark attacks — there have been just over 32 incidents off the coast of Charleston County since 1837. The South Carolina coast was home to eight unprovoked shark attacks last year. In 2015, researchers observed the highest annual number of attacks on record worldwide with 98, topping 2000’s total of 88. More than 76 percent of these attacks occurred in North American waters. But although sharks get all the press, a greater danger lurks for most Americans — cows.
Yes, cows. While sharks only manage to kill about one human per year, cattle have mounted a silent onslaught for years. Behind those big dark eyes and friendly spots lies a vicious beast that claims as many as 20 lives per year. According to a 2009 study by the CDC on fatalities caused by cattle, “Large livestock are powerful, quick, protective of their territory and offspring, and especially unpredictable during breeding and birthing periods.” So as you can see, while cows may appear harmless in those fast-food chicken advertisements, they merely play the fool to hide the soul of a killer.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you are 47 times more likely to die from a lighting strike than a shark attack. And, as the Fourth of July holiday approaches, remember that you are 11 times more likely to die from a mismanaged firework than nature’s perfect predator. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Have a great summer.