How many shark attacks have there been in Texas waters?


On Thursday news broke that a 42-year-old man swimming along a sandbar near Crystal Beach was bitten by a shark. The man, who reportedly told paramedics that the shark bumped him and “Then he wanted to taste me,” suffered a non life-threatening injury.

The incident might have some wondering exactly how common a shark encounter like it is in Texas waters.

According to the International Shark Attack File, which is maintained by the Florida Museum of Natural History, the state has seen a total of 43 confirmed, unprovoked shark attacks since 1911. Of the 43, 18 occurred off the shores of Galveston, the most of any area. 

A separate set of data, compiled by the Shark Research Institute, reports 58 attacks in Texas since 1900, five of which were fatal. The most recent fatality from an unprovoked shark attack occurred in 1962. It is worth noting that this data set includes “provoked” attacks. 

Those numbers have you nervous? Take solace in the fact that, of the nine states that have recorded shark attacks,  the International Shark Attack File reports Texas as having had the fourth-fewest since 2007 with a total of 11. Alabama, the state with the fewest, has had three, while Florida and Hawaii comprise far more than the majority with a combined total of 306.

If those numbers don’t really do it for you, however, click through the International Shark Attack File’s “What are the odds?” page, which compares the likelihood of a shark attack to other risks like bear attacks (twice as common as shark attacks in the last century), and lightning strikes, which between 1959 and 2010 killed 213 people in Texas alone. 


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