Is there any truth to the lore that hitting a shark on the snout while it's biting you will trigger it to automatically drop you?
Yes. The sensitive areas on a shark are thought to be its snout, because it's got its nose there, it's got its electro-sensitivity capabilities there, and its eyes aren't too far away from that, either. Most sharks aren't used to their prey really striking back, so it spooks them, too.
A marine educator in Hawaii e-mailed me this question about shark eyes. What she says is that no one seems to know what color eyes the great white has. She's wondering if anyone's figured that out.
If you ask Quint from Jaws, he calls 'em [doing an impression of the Robert Shaw character's grizzled voice] "doll's eyes — lookin' at you with those doll's eyes." You gotta love that soliloquy. And he calls them doll's eyes because they look lifeless. And they look lifeless because there's no twinkle in them, and there's no coloration in them. You're basically looking through the [great white] shark's pupil into the darkness of the back of its eye.
Speaking ofJaws, how long has shark-attack hysteria been around?
Probably millennia. But yes, it strikes at some of our deepest fears . . . it's just the nature of the beast.
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