This Is One Of The World's Most Dangerous Sharks & No, It's Not A Great White

While shark attacks can be deadly, they're not as common as media reports would have you believe. Despite people flocking to coasts in the summer to swim, surf, and get sun, there aren't all that many shark attacks relative to the amount of people who go in the water. According to the International Shark Attack File by the Florida Museum of Natural History, there were 120 shark attacks around the world in 2023. Out of that total, only about 69 were unprovoked. While sharks are thought of as dangerous, they're still not all that deadly compared to other animals. 


For example, hippos, which live throughout parts of Africa, lead to many more fatalities. While sharks attacked a reported 120 people in 2023, and 14 of those encounters were fatal, hippos kill up to 500 people annually, according to Animals Asia.

Still, despite the low number of attacks, many people are afraid of sharks, especially great whites. It's always a good idea to take precautions and avoid waters known to have a lot of sharks. However, great whites aren't the species you need to fear the most. Some experts consider bull sharks to be the world's most dangerous sharks due to their aggressive behaviors, tendency to swim in shallow waters, and strong bite. 

Why great whites get a bad rap

When people think of the world's most dangerous shark, likely for many, the great white comes to mind first — or perhaps the tiger shark. Both species have a bad rap due to their attacks on surfers and swimmers, and they actually are some of the most dangerous types of sharks since they are more likely to bite someone than other species. 


What's more, thanks to movies like "Jaws," "The Reef," and "47 Meters Down," great whites are often thought of as mindless killers in the water. But this isn't really the truth. While they do have quite a few bites on record, not many of them are fatal. According to the International Shark Attack File reports, less than 17% of all unprovoked attacks by great whites are deadly. 

Most great white shark bites on humans are attributed to the predators confusing people with seals or turtles, especially those in wet suits or on surfboards. Great whites also take sample bites to see if something is edible, which is why they have the most attacks on record compared to any other species. However, experts say bull sharks are potentially even more dangerous than these two, despite having fewer verified deadly interactions with humans.


Here's why the bull shark is so dangerous

Despite the attacks by great whites, bull sharks are actually the world's most dangerous shark. One of the reasons they don't get as much attention as great whites is that they're difficult to identify compared to other sharks. There are only a recorded 26 unprovoked fatalities in total ever blamed on bull sharks, according to the International Shark Attack File, but the true number is thought to be higher due to misidentification.  


One of the reasons why attacks from bull sharks are so high is because of where they live. They're a unique species capable of living in either fresh or saltwater for years at a time. They also prefer shallow water, where humans like to wade. This means that bull sharks are around people much more often than one might realize. 

They're also territorial, and quick to attack if they feel that a human has invaded their space. While most bites from other species are tests to see if people are food, bulls will attack due to aggression. Bull sharks also have the strongest bite of all sharks in relation to their size, which increases their risk of human fatalities from a bite. Thankfully, they usually ram their prey first, giving people time to escape before a life-threatening bite occurs. 


With the proper precautions, you can avoid them by avoiding areas where they've been sighted recently. However, if that's not possible, you need to know the proper steps to survive if you're attacked by a shark