Sharks are the most feared creatures of the sea and while it might be a long-held belief that warding off a shark is as simple as a good punch in the nose, some experts think otherwise.
According to conservationist Richard Peirce, who has written seven books about sharks and has has some close encounters with the animal himself, punching a shark in the nose is not a good plan of action.
“Trying to punch them on the nose is a pretty stupid thing to do because if you miss, just below the nose is their mouth full of sharp teeth,” Peirce told MailOnline Travel.
Read more: Ticking swimming with whale sharks in WA off my bucket list
“Never try and fight or punch a shark if it comes for you,” he adds.
Instead, Peirce says you should stand (or swim) your ground and stare the shark right in the eye.
“The main thing to do is stay calm - don't start shouting or splashing around in the water and don't try and swim away - you'll never make it.”
He also suggests avoiding turning your back on them, because similar to safari animals like tigers and lions, they’re likely to attack prey who are perceived to be in a state of weakness. Locking eyes will avoid this, according to Peirce.
Read more: How to stay crocodile safe in outback Australia
He also suggests easing away from the situation by making your way back to shore or your boat, because “if the shark doesn't see you as a threat it is less likely to want to attack.”
If you are worried about sharks, then here are a few ways to reduce your risk of being a victim of a shark attack:
- Avoid swimming near people doing cage diving
- Don’t swim where people are fishing, the fish blood can attract sharks
- Urinating can attract sharks, too, so keep that for the bathroom when you return to land
- Take note in rivers – some sharks can be found in fresh water, too
- Splashing can attract sharks, so don’t attract them with lots of movement while in the water
Have you ever experienced a close encounter with a shark? Let us know in the comments section below.