PSA: Menstrual Blood Does Not Attract Sharks

It’s “one of those misconceptions that refuses to die”, apparently: the idea that women on their period are more likely to trigger shark attacks. More likely than women not on their period, that is – or, you know, men.

To be fair, it’s not too hard to see the train of thought here. Periods involve a bit of blood; blood attracts sharks; hence, sharks probably love nothing more than sniffing out a red tide.

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Well allow us to take that misconception out the back and shoot it in the head once and for all – because scientists have all but completely debunked the theory that surfing the crimson wave will get you chomped by a shark.

Chris Lowe, a shark researcher at Cal State University of Long Beach, clarifies that a woman’s period doesn’t produce nearly enough blood to tickle a shark’s fancy.

“The amount of blood loss during menstruation is probably less than [the] average scrape or cut that a kid or surfer may get while playing in the water” Lowe told the Huffington Post. “[And] it takes a lot more than just a little blood to get a shark’s attention.”

Ralph S. Collier, a shark behaviour expert from California, has gone one step further and put the period-predator theory to the test. By examining the ways in which wild sharks responded to menstrual blood and other bodily fluids, Collier found that it was only liquid from the abdominal cavity which elicited a reaction.

So yeah, myth busted.

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This altogether unnecessary conversation surfaced recently when professional surfer Laird Hamilton got himself into a bit of hot bloody water during a TMZ interview. Sitting at the wheel of his van, Hamilton very confidently announced to the camera that menstruating women are not only contributing factors in shark attacks, but in fact “the biggest, most common reason to be bitten.

“People… don’t even think about that,” he said. “[But] obviously if a woman has her period then there’s a certain amount of blood in the water.”

The discerning viewer will hear a perplexed “What?” coming from the sideline during Hamilton’s mindless period rant and see, reflected in the back window of the van, a woman promptly walking away from the conversation.

And that just about sums it up.
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Source: The Huffington Post
Feature image: Columbia Pictures/The Shallows

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