Saving the Great White

Great White sharks are known for inflicting ‘test bites’ where they will bite an object in an attempt to identify its prey. Although it has been well documented that they think a surfboard is a seal and that surfers have been attacked in water with low visibility, research shows that sharks actually do not like the taste of humans because it is unfamiliar to them. Humans have more bones than their typical prey. A shark’s digestion is too slow to deal with the human body’s high ratio of bone to muscle and fat. In most recorded attacks, great whites broke off contact after the first bite. Fatalities are often caused by blood loss rather than from critical organ loss of from consumption. Simply put, most shark attacks are a case of mistaken identity. Help these non profits preserve the Great White.

However, one man was attacked by a great white and lived to tell about it. Australian Rodney Fox was spearfishing in a contest in 1963 when he was attacked by a great white shark. Fox attempted to poke its eye out but his arm slipped and went into the shark’s mouth, slicing it to the bone. The shark bit down on Fox’s upper left torso, letting go only to grab Fox’s fish belt, dragging him down. When he was finally pulled into a waiting boat, the damage was severe.His rib cage, lungs, and upper stomach were all exposed. His rescuers left his wetsuit on, which kept his internal organs from spilling out and probably saved his life.

 The shark’s jaws had crushed all of Fox’s ribs on his left side. His diaphragm was punctured, his lung ripped open, and the main artery from his heart was exposed. He barely survived the ensuing blood loss, but lived and is known as a survivor of one of the world’s worst shark attacks. He required 462 stitches, leaving him with massive scars on his chest, back, and arm. To this day, he has part of the shark’s tooth embedded in his wrist.

Rather than develop a lifelong phobia of sharks, Rodney Fox has spent the last 35+ years studying, observing, and filming sharks. He is considered the Number One Ambassador for Shark Protection and Conservation. After the attack that he miraculously survived, he decided to learn everything he could about shark behavior and to teach the world to protect and respect sharks. Ironically, Fox was the first man in Australia to fight for Shark Protection Laws, which has resulted in the great white shark becoming a protected species in Australia and other countries as well.

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