In these days (8/12/2010) the calm and crowded waters of the tourist place Sharm el Sheikh, in the Egyptian Red Sea, are disturbed from a series of shark attacks towards swimmers and snorkelers, that until now caused serious wounds and unfortunately a tragic death. 

The questions that probably rise spontaneous in each of us, thinking about these events, are those that concern why the shark could have committed the attacks, if it has been a consequence of a particular situation and what kind of shark is responsible of these atrocities.. 
By now the most greater part of us it knows that the shark is not that terror of the seas, always thirsty of blood, described by film as "Jaws", but this fish remains always also a great raider, almost to the vertex of the food chain, whose instinct is that to chase, to find some potential preys for its feeding.. 
If for example we come upon a great feline as the tiger or the lion, also them great raiders and hunters, potentially very dangerous for the man, the meeting would not finish with an attack, it is a possibility but not a certainty.. 

Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)

Is exactly what happens in the oceans with the sharks, these animals are not good or bad, they follow only their hunter instinct and, despite the man don't reenter among the natural preys, deadly attacks can also happen.. 

Almost always the shark, after one or two bites of "taste", it definitely estranges from the man, without devouring him, since it finds a scarce quantity of fat and an abundant quantity of muscular fabric, not sufficiently energetic for this raider. 
Also during the deadly attack of Sharm el Sheikh the poor victim has been bite twice, but not devoured and the death has happened for bleeding.. 

It doesn't need therefore to accuse of cruelty the sharks or to be favorable to slaughters of these animals, this would not have sense, it would not resolve the problems of possible attacks and besides it would already alter in serious way the delicate and precarious equilibrium among all the present animalsin our seas.. 
We have besides to remember that every year not provoked attacks of shark to the man, in all the seas of the world, are about sixty (note sharkattack), 6-8 deadly, while the man captures and kills every year around 100 million of sharks.. 

White shark (Carcharodon carcharias)          Mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)

When we speak about not provoked attacks it is considered that the shark doesn't suffer any "provocation", not attracted with pastures, dead fishes or presence of blood in water. 
In these situations in fact the predatory instinct could be instigated and to arrive to an uncontrolled and very dangerous food frenzy. 

Always returning to Sharm el Sheikh attacks as "provocative" causes, it also speaks of impoverishment of the local fauna and above all of presence in water of hundreds of carcasses of dead animals thrown by the man.. situations that are able in effects to have caused the dangerous approach of the sharks to the coasts and the continental reefs of Sharm.. 

Zambesi shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

Another question that can rise in us is that related to the kind of shark author of the attacks: 

We have to know that the 50% of the sharks don't overcome the meter of length, 82% don't overcome the 2 meters, and only 4% reach superior dimensions to the 4 meters, such to represent a serious danger. 

The list of five most dangerous sharks for the man is here: 

1) WHITE SHARK (Carcharodon carcharias

2) TIGER SHARK (Galeocerdo cuvier

3) ZAMBESI SHARK (Carcharhinus leucas

4) SHORTFIN MAKO SHARK (Isurus oxyrinchus

5) OCEANIC WHITE TIP SHARK (Carcharhinus longimanus)

(The biological cards and the photos are visible also

The probable author of the attacks to Sharm el Sheikh is the Oceanic white tip sgark (Carcharhinus longimanus), a very powerful animal, mighty, fast and unmistakable for his physical characteristics.  In the past the oceanic white tip shark is surely made responsible of a certain number of attacks to the man, but almost always in deep waters, offshore, away from the coasts and from the continental reefs.
In this case however the animal would have drawn close to the coast to mortally attach..
The biological card of the oceanic white tip shark, with the physical characteristics is visible here under: 



Carcharhinus longimanus
POEY, 1861
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Carcharhinidae 

Middle dimensions: 180-200 cm
Maximum dimensions: can reach 400 cm
Distribution: in all the tropical and sub-tropical seas of the world. 

Coloration: bronzy-grey shark, white abdomen with a clean and irregular separation from that dorsal. This shark is easily recognizable from the thick and mighty body and from the pectoral fins, very great, rounded to the extremities and white coloured, always in the terminal part. The first dorsal fin is great, rounded and it finishes with a showy white stain. Also the ventral fins and the superior and inferior extremities of the caudal fin are recognizable for  white color. The second dorsal fin and the anal fin are grey dark bronze coloured. The face is rounded and the eyes are great. 

Reproduction: viviparous with yolk-sac placenta. 

Compare with the man: considered a very dangerous shark for the man.  

Commercial value: object of sporting and commercial fishing for the great fins. The populations of this shark seem to be decreased during the last years.  

Teeth: triangular and serrated to the borders. The teeth of the superior arcade are greater while those of the inferior arcade are more lengthened and narrow. 

Notes: very powerful, curious and tenacious shark, it normally swims in pelagic waters, from the surface up to around 180 m of depth. It rarely swims near to the continental reefs (close to the beaches) while it is being more frequent around insular reef. This shark is often surrounded by numerous Naucrates ductor (pilot fishes), it swims slowly, both during the day and during the night, but it is able of fast releases. The oceanic white tip shark eats bony fishes, cefalopods, gastropods, shellfishes, sea birds and races. 

This shark is potentially very dangerous for the man and it is responsible  of a certain number of attacks in deep waters, away from the coasts, in case of castaways.


Oceanic white tip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)




Marco Angelozzi -

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