Most people will flee in terror when they encounter a shark in the open ocean.
But a professional diver has revealed why swimming away from these apex predators is the most dangerous move.
Kayleigh Nicole Grant, founder of an ocean safari company, showed that it’s best to always stand your ground, face the shark, and — if it keeps coming at you — gently push the fearsome creature away.
She shared the advice in a video showing, first, how entranced one roughly half-ton adult tiger shark became by her flippers as she swam away from it — and then how surprisingly easy it can be to face down a shark and gently redirect it.
‘If you panic and swim away from sharks,’ Grant said in her clip, ‘they will likely continue to follow you due to their prey drive.’
Regarding your ‘fight or flight’ instincts, one professional diver advised doing neither – and she proved it via a shocking first-person demonstration on how to fend off a large adult tiger shark properly. If you try to flee, she said, sharks ‘will likely continue to follow’
‘Stand your ground, make eye contact and push them away if absolutely necessary,’ Grant, who goes by @mermaid.kayleigh on TikTok, advised in the clip.
As of November 18 last month, there have been 76 publicly reported and verified shark attack bites in 2023, according to trackingsharks.com — nearly 20 more than the total number of shark attacks in 2022.
Granted, only 10 of this year’s attacks were fatal, however, and nine of the 76 incidents were allegedly provoked, the site has reported.
Sharing the video on both TikTok and Instagram led to a wave of viral attention, as she expertly managed to reroute the shark with a gentle but forceful push of the creature’s nose.
‘Sharks more respectful than many humans today,’ one commenter joked after seeing the deadly apex predator calmly take direction and swim away.
While Grant has developed a massive following for her captivating undersea videos, with two million followers on TikTok alone and counting, her shark advice echoes a broad consensus among the scientists who study these creatures off social media.
Sharing the video on both TikTok and Instagram led to viral attention, as pro-diver Kayleigh Nicole Grant expertly managed to reroute the shark with a gentle but forceful push of its nose. ‘Sharks more respectful than a lot of humans today,’ one commenter joked
‘Refrain from excess splashing, particularly in a single spot,’ according to a factsheet maintained by the Florida Museum of Natural History, which is run in partnership with the University of Florida in Gainesville.
‘Sharks can hear the low-frequency sounds from splashing,’ the museum’s marine biology experts advise, ‘and may investigate to see if a fish/prey is in distress.’
A shark’s ‘inner ear,’ called its acoustic-lateral system, can hear sounds between 10Hz to 800Hz frequencies from miles away in the water, according to biologist Carolin Nieder at the University of Auckland in Australia.
This ability helps a shark survey a broad ocean sweep for tasty aquatic prey in distress, meaning swimmers should be vigilant while splashing around noisily and playfully in the ocean.
Suppose a shark does arrive to scope out your beach day.
In that case, researchers at Shark Lab, run by California State University at Long Beach, have suggested further advice echoing what Grant shared on TikTok.
‘You want the shark to know you see it by always facing it,’ according to the scientists at Shark Lab.
‘By keeping your eyes on the shark, it will be able to tell you are watching it,’ they said, ‘and most swim away.’
Shark Lab’s key addition to Grant’s advice is to always watch your back.
A shark you have diverted may decide to swim up behind you for another close look, ‘typical behavior of many predators,’ according to the lab’s beach safety page.
‘It doesn’t mean the shark is stalking you,’ Shark Lab said.
‘It’s just a way for them to get a better peek at something that could possibly harm them.’
According to Dave Bader, chief operations and education officer for the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro, California, most sharks are less than three feet long, and 80 percent are less than six feet long.
In other words, many of them are not quite the killer apex predators we see on Shark Week or in the Jaws films. Many are just as afraid of what’s in the water as we are.
‘Sharks are definitely on the menu,’ Bader told DailyMail.com last month.