Of all the animals that inhabit the clear blue waters of Hawaii, the one most feared yet admired is the shark. There are about forty species that reside in Hawaiian waters, including the Scalloped Hammerhead, Reef Whitetip, Sandbar, and Tiger sharks. These carnivores live near shore and primarily feed on fishes. They are actually thought to improve the ecosystem by removing the injured or sick fish so that the healthy ones may reproduce.
The largest shark living in Hawaii is the Whale Shark, which grows past fifty feet, while the smallest shark is the Pygmy Shark, which is only about eight inches. These Hawaiian sharks are known to have extremely developed and sharp senses. They can detect prey from extreme distances, smelling or hearing them at a range of two miles. They can even detect them by faint electrical fields using their ampullae of Lorenzini. Most sharks detect humans in the water before we detect them. Sharks rarely attack and pose little threat to humans. However, if they are provoked then they may respond in defense. The most aggressive sharks near the Hawaiian shore are the Tiger and Galapagos Sharks. Don't fret -- it is very unlikely to get attacked by a shark. Out of the 7.4 million Hawaiian visitors, only eight shark attacks have occurred in the year 2007. Drowning is a much larger threat in Hawaiian waters; there has been an average of sixty drownings every year.
There are many possible reasons why a shark would attack a human. First off, it is their natural environment, which is home to numerous prey such as seals, baby humpback whales, and sea-turtles. In many cases, sharks mistake us as a prey, and launch an attack. You can avoid any shark threats by never swimming alone, avoiding excessive splashing, and being alert. A great way to see these sharks in their natural environment is by going on Hawaii Tours.