Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sharks are the wrong animal to worry about


It's beach season, and some recent news about shark attacks combined with the sensationalism of a certain cable station's Shark Week may have you questioning your travel plans. If so, you're committing the common error of being afraid of the wrong animals.

In fact, if you're not careful, moving your vacation to some bucolic inland spot may just put you at more danger. If you've read the book, you know that cows kill an average of twenty people a year in the US. With sharks to blame for at most 1 to 3 deaths per year, that means that you're much more likely to be killed by cows than a shark.

What's more, with cows, it's personal. Sharks just think you're a delicious seal and mistakenly take a taste. But here's some detail from the CDC report on bovine murder:
In about 3/4 of the cases “the animal was deemed to have purposefully struck the victim.”

One of the murderous bulls had been hand-raised and bottle-fed by the victim and his family.
If you don't believe it, check out this story of a vengeful bull in India:
The bull apparently kept a watch on frail Bhoop Narayan Prajapati, 65, and attacked him when he was having his morning tea, a day after he had thrown hot water on it for sitting in front of his hut. Prajapati ran inside his thatched hut to escape, but the bull followed him, pushed him to the ground twice and gored him. 
Apparently there was a long history between this man and this bull:  Six months earlier, he hit the animal with a stick and it retaliated, landing him in the hospital for a month.

And not only did the animal plot its revenge for months, it made sure its attack had been successful, and after he died, it returned to gloat:
The bull followed the man when he was being taken to a hospital and later appeared at the crematorium during his funeral.
All I can say is, there's something a shark would never do - I'm definitely going to keep vacationing at the beach.
Cow warning from Switzerland passed on by Flickr user Kecko.



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