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Facts about the great white shark

How to reduce your chances of an encounter.

Jakob Hinrichs

Getty Images

GREAT WHITE SHARK

(Carcharodon carcharias)

Maximum size 20 feet

Reproductive age 17 years

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Longevity 30 years

Status as threatened species Vulnerable

Source: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (All figures are estimates)

REDUCE YOUR CHANCES OF AN ENCOUNTER

The Cape Cod National Seashore recommends these steps to avoid sharks:

> Do not swim near seals.

> Swim close to shore, where your feet can touch bottom.

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> Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups.

> Do not swim alone in the ocean at dawn or dusk.

> Limit splashing and do not wear shiny jewelry.

SHARK BITE: WHAT TO DO

“If one is attacked by a shark, we advise a proactive response. Hitting a shark on the nose, ideally with an inanimate object, usually results in the shark temporarily curtailing its attack. . . . If a shark actually bites, we suggest clawing at its eyes and gills, two sensitive areas. One should not act passively if under attack — sharks respect size and power.”

Source: Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida

UNPROVOKED SHARK ATTACKS

Against humans in the United States in 2012

Florida26
Hawaii10
California5
South Carolina5
North Carolina2
Georgia1
Massachusetts1
New York1
Oregon1
Puerto Rico1

Source: Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida

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