Do sharks eat scuba divers?
No. Sharks do not eat scuba divers. Sharks eat surfers. A large shark will look for seals and sea birds splashing on the surface, and with their poor vision they might sometimes mistake a splashing human as food. Underwater where the shark sees better, they will ignore you completely. The only times a scuba diver risks shark aggression is if they are baiting, hunting, or otherwise deliberately aggravating the animals.
Some "shark diving" tours use cages and baiting to attract sharks for ogling tourists. This baiting is extremely dangerous since it domesticates the sharks and makes them associate humans with food handouts. The effect is obvious to anyone who has been swarmed by ducks in a park who are accustomed to being fed by visitors. Like any other potentially dangerous animal (such as bears, crocodiles, pythons), sharks are only safe when their instincts are predictable. You can help to prevent shark attacks by not supporting any enterprise that uses baiting to alter normal shark behaviour.
What marine animals are dangerous?
Dangerous marine life fall into two categories:
- aggressive attackers
- defensive stingers
Most animals are docile. However some animals are inclined to become aggressive if provoked. These include sharks, eels, and some large hunting fish like barracuda.
Harm can also come of approaching animals that have poisonous defenses, like urchins, jellyfish, blowfish, and stingrays. These animals will not attack you, but if you molest one (accidentally or otherwise), you will regret it. Fire coral can give you a nasty rash with the merest touch.
As a general rule, avoid touching or disturbing any marine life. But be especially careful around:
- Anything larger than you
- Anything with spines, tentacles or spikes
- Anything with teeth
- Anything that doesn't appear to be afraid of people