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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

    Longevity 30 years

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    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

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    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.

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

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    > 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