- Chris Fallows
Sharks are some of the most feared and loathed creatures in the animal kingdom.
But for all the hype spurred by “Shark Week” and movies like “Jaws,” the odds of actually being attacked by one are pretty slim – about 1 in 11.5 million.
Still, humanity can’t help but be intrigued, and a little frightened, by the odd encounter with one of these magnificent oceangoing beasts.
Here are a few of the most incredible encounters with sharks so far this year.
Scientists have seen plenty of big sharks, but this 20-foot great white may be the largest one ever caught on camera. Her name is Deep Blue, and she appears to be pregnant.
- Facebook/Mauricio Hoyos Padilla
When great whites hunt, they approach their prey from below, like this shark caught launching itself into the air. The incredible footage was shot in Mossel Bay, South Africa, by Remo Sabatini on July 6.
Sometimes, one shark just isn’t enough. A fisherman caught this giant tiger shark, then realized the massive creature had already swallowed a hammerhead.
- Facebook/Geoff Brooks
Sharks sometimes turn up in unexpected places. Scientists were surprised to find 50 smooth-hound sharks swimming in shallow, intertidal waters off the coast of West Sussex, England. These sharks are normally found in offshore, coastal waters.
But that’s not the strangest place sharks have been found. Scientists were baffled to find these hammerheads and silky sharks swimming near Kavachi underwater volcano in the South Pacific, despite the scorching, acidic waters.
If a shark attacks you, all is not lost. Professional Australian surfer Mick Fanning fended off a great white shark during a recent tournament, and came out shaken but unscathed.
But humans aren’t the only creatures lucky enough to escape becoming a shark’s lunch. The seal in this video pulled some crazy gymnastics to avoid being eaten by a great white off Cape Cod. The thwarted shark successfully nabbed another seal, however.
Some people go looking for trouble. These bold paddlers heard there were great white sharks nearby, and paddled over to get a closer look.
- Courtney Hemerick/YouTube
Not all sharks are big and scary, though. A NOAA biologist found this tiny pocket shark off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, only the second one that’s ever been seen. It weighs about as much as three crayons, and is only 5.5 inches long.
- M. Doosey/Tulane University
This summer saw a brief surge in the number of shark attacks along the Carolina coast. More than half a dozen shark attacks happened in North Carolina in three weeks — nearly as many as happened all of last year.
A surfer punched a shark that attacked him at a tourist spot north of Sydney, Australia, in what one witness described as a “Mick Fanning replay.”
Sharks occasionally deserve their reputation as natural-born killers. In July, a scallop diver was killed by a shark off the coast of the Australian island state of Tasmania, as his daughter watched helplessly.
- Elias Levy/Flickr
And sometimes, we go out of our way to help sharks. Some beachgoers in Chatham, Massachusetts tried to revive this beached great white shark by splashing water on it.