Fear of Sharks Cue the Jaws Music

Galeophobia or, if you prefer, selachophobia…they both mean the same thing to suffers from the fear of…….(yes, Cue in that Jaws music)……SHARKS!

In oceans around the world, these fish swim about, and in fresh water too, with their streamlined bodies, growing from 9 inches to a whooping 39 feet! With over 350 species,sharks usually live 20-30 years, but some sharks can live up to 100 years. The shark has sure found it’s footing in this world.

Going back over 450 million years, before the majority of plants were even growing on this earth of ours, and vertebrates hadn’t even found their way onto dry land, sharks swam the oceans. Scientists have found fossils to confirm this, but it wasn’t until 100 million years ago that sharks developed the looks they have today.

But of all 350 shark species, there are only a handful that are potentially harmful or lethal to humans. Tiger sharks, Hammerheads, and the dreaded (do I hear Jaws coming..) Great White Shark are the main enemies when it comes to sharks. These three have been known to attack humans, and are drawn to the smell of blood in water. Of those who are unfortunate enough to be attacked, the survival rate is above 60%.

For some, the fear of sharks is so great, they feel panicky and have anxiety attacks around water and boats. For those who suffer from selachophobia more then others, a picture can be enough to send chills up their back and produce anxiety. There are ways to treat those who suffer from this phobia, such as talk-therapy, some medications, and hypnotherapy.

Before the release of Jaws, selachophobia was rarely seen. After the movie was released, there was a sharp incline in those who reported fears of sharks, leaving many to believe that the movie was the cause of this now rampant fear. There has been many great white sharks slaughtered due to an increase of fear in the public, resulting in a decline of the great whites population.

All in all, shark attacks are very rare indeed, but still keep an eye out when you go into the water…..you never know when Jaws might reappear!