Could You Survive a Shark Attack?

By: Zoe Samuel

Could You Survive a Shark Attack?
Image: Orbon Alija / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

A lot of people are terrified of sharks, which is both wise and absurd at the same time. The truth about shark attacks is that they are extremely rare, and unless you go splashing around their favorite hangouts just when they're looking for something to eat, then bleed into the nearby waters, they generally won't bother you. Sharks, after all, have more to fear from humans than the other way around! Indeed, in the entire American population, an average of one person a year is killed by a shark. That compares to over 600 trampled by cows or horses and over 100 dead from insect attack (allergies are serious things).

Still, just because something is rare doesn't mean it never happens, and when it's something very serious, then you still need to know how to handle it if the situation were to arise. If you keep your head and follow a few simple steps, you are very likely to come away without so much as a scratch - and if the worst happens and the shark goes from merely sniffing you out to deciding to munch on you, you can still persuade it that you're not worth the effort. Let's see if you have what it takes!

How coolheaded are you?
Like ice
Like chilled water
Like room temperature water
Like steam

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Can you look a foe in the eye?
Yes - and they always blink first!
Usually
Depends on the foe
No, I hate confrontation.

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Do you throw a good hook or jab?
Yes, I have a black belt.
I did a little boxing in high school.
No, but I'm in good shape.
I could never!

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How good a swimmer are you?
I swam for my college!
I'm pretty good.
I'm good enough to stay afloat.
Not so good!

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What water sport are you likely to do?
Jetskiing
Waterskiing
Surfing
Boogie boarding

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Do you usually have a weapon on you?
I always carry a knife on my leg when I swim.
No, but I can make anything a weapon.
Not usually
Never!

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A shark! You've spotted one! What do you do?
Quietly make my way to the shore
Keep an eye on it
Scream
Turn into a ball

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How comfortable are you with throwing the first punch?
I love it!
I will do what I have to do.
I hate it.
I can't even throw the second punch.

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Could you make yourself very small and still float well?
Yes, I'm weirdly buoyant.
I think so.
In theory
I can't float on my back, doing it in a ball sounds impossible!

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Where exactly do you like to swim?
Just by the beach
By a reef
Where there are lots of fish to see
The mouth of a river

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What is your favorite time of day for swimming?
Midday
Afternoon
Dusk and dawn
Night

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Would you swim at a beach where there was nobody else around?
No, that's insane.
Only if I could check warnings
Only if the weather is right and I have a flotation aid
Sure, that sounds like heaven!

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Do you take a first aid kit with you when you surf?
Of course! It's an advanced one.
Yes, a basic one
I have a few odds and ends in my bag.
No - that is a good idea though!

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Do you find that you often cut yourself easily?
No, I'm tough.
Not really
Well, I do bite my nails.
Yes, I am very clumsy.

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Where would you try to whack a shark if you had to?
Eye
Gill
Anywhere I could reach
Mouth

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A shark is circling you. What's your first move?
Pivot to face it, and stay still and vertical
Make myself very big and loud
Play dead
Run away!

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Other than interest in eating you, why might a shark come in to take a nibble?
To see if I am a threat or competitor
I scared it and it's lashing out.
Revenge for 100m dead sharks a year killed by humans!
It knows I always feared I'd go like this.

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Can you swim backwards without splashing?
Yes, quite fast actually
Yes, but not quickly
I splash, but I can do it.
Wait, you can swim backwards?

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If things get really bad, are you willing to fight like the devil?
Yes, I've done it before and I will do it again.
If I have to, I will.
I might panic, but otherwise yes.
Probably not

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You're swimming with a buddy when the shark comes in. What's the best position to take?
Vertical and back-to-back
Side by side
One of you should run away to distract the shark.
Put them in front of me, obviously

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The shark goes away! Is it over?
Nope. Get the heck out of the water.
Probably. Carry on, but keep an eye out.
Yes, the shark left, and I saw it go.
I won! Suck it, shark! Time to celebrate with much splashing.

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Do you know how to tie a tourniquet?
Yes, I have a first aid qualification.
I have a good idea.
I know in theory.
What is a tourniquet?

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Do you have your phone in a waterproof case?
Of course, and I take it swimming.
Yes, though I don't swim with it
Yes, but it's not THAT waterproof
I don't believe such a thing exists.

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You look around and the shark has disappeared. You didn't see it leave, though. What is your next move?
Get the heck out of the water, but slowly and carefully - and alert others.
Swim to shore quickly
Continue swimming but watch out for it
Assume it left

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If you see a cluster of seabirds or dolphins, what does that mean for the odds of sharks being present?
Much higher
Somewhat higher
The same
Lower

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Do you think you could outrun a shark in the water?
No, nobody could do that.
Only if I had flippers on
Yes, I will just ride my board.
Yes, they're so big, how fast could they be?

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If the sea looks a little murky on a clear day, does that make a shark attack more or less likely?
Way more
It doesn't make a difference.
Less
I don't know!

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After you put on a pressure bandage, what's your next move?
Check blood supply below the bandage
Get the person to the hospital
Carry on - you're all set!
Pass out

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If there is a reef nearby, how can you take advantage of it?
Put your back to it
Put it between you and the shark
Try to get on top of it
Hide in it

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If you feel something bump you in the water after seeing a shark nearby, what is the worst case scenario?
I was bitten and didn't feel it, meaning I'm possibly in shock.
The shark is preparing to attack.
The shark is trying to batter me to death.
The shark was leaving, and it just bumped me on the way.

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