Statistics on the Environment Conditions of Unprovoked White Shark Attacks

For further information, see the Worldwide Shark Attack Summary and the Carcharodon carcharias species profile.

Unprovoked White Shark Attack Depths


These graph represents the water depth at which white shark attacks have occurred and the total depth of the water in which the attack took place. It reflects which part of the water column people frequent the most. People generally swim in the upper 5 feet of the water column, and surfers and boogie boarders are found entirely at the surface. Depths greater than 30 to 40 feet are reserved only for divers, who are far outnumbered by swimmers and surfers. The white shark's common prey items are also primarily attacked at the water's surface.

Of 244 cases (N=244)

Last updated: July 08, 2014

Water Depth Where Unprovoked White Shark Attacks Occurred


Of 132 cases (N=132)

Last updated: July 08, 2014

Water Temperature During Unprovoked White Shark Attacks


White sharks most often frequent waters between 12ºC and 24ºC in their natural worldwide geographic distribution. The temperature of the water at the time of an attack is due mostly to the comfort level of humans who are in the water, i.e. there are more attacks in waters warmer than 14ºC (57ºF) because people tend to not go in the ocean at temperatures colder than that.

Of 65 cases (N=65)

Last updated: July 08, 2014

Time of Unprovoked White Shark Attacks


This graph depicts an example of how human behavior patterns can affect the number of shark attacks. All white shark attacks occur between 6AM and 8PM NOT because of the shark's daily activity cycles, but because these are the times of the day when people are utilizing the ocean for recreation. It is also important to note the drop in attacks between the hours of 11AM and 2PM. This time of day is when many people leave the water to eat their lunch, which consequently reduces the chances of a human/shark interaction.

Of 209 cases (N=209)

Last updated: July 08, 2014

© International Shark Attack File
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida