If you scream when you see a shark in shallow water, are you being dramatic or is it just good sense to be terrified? The internet is currently divided on the way Florida beachgoers reacted to three sharks appearing in the shallow waves during Memorial Day weekend. The video has gone viral, and it’s easy to see why. There’s the shock of seeing the sharks. And then there are the varied reactions from the many people in the video.
Watch the circling sharks below.
Should we panic and scream? Should we laugh? What do we do with this bizarre scenario happening right now? The screaming in the video seems to mostly be excitement and shock, not panic. However, online commenters have been quick to tell everyone to calm down and not be dramatic. They’ve also been quick to point out that these appear to be scalloped hammerhead sharks.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Great Hammerhead and Scalloped Hammerhead are both common along the coasts of Florida and are often confused. The Great Hammerhead grows up to be 18 feet long, while the Scalloped grows to be up to 12 feet long. There has been no official ruling on what kind of shark is seen in this video, but many online believe we are seeing the Scalloped Hammerheads here. As their names suggest, one of the ways to tell them apart is the shape of their heads. Around the 30 second mark, we get a good view of the heads of these sharks, but it’s hard to be certain through the distortion of the water. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission does consider both of these types of sharks to be dangerous as they do bite humans unprovoked.
These sharks live in both the shallow waters and deeper sea. At night, they go off into the deeper waters but are commonly found brushing up against the shore during the day. They like to travel in schools. In this video, the person recording claims there are three of them. They’ve been spotted in schools of over a hundred before, so three isn’t quite as shocking as it could have been. They are called “opportunist predators”, which is certainly something to think about when you see one in the water.
The sharks in this video are clearly amazing. Despite the finger on the edge of the footage, they’re seen right next to the boat, circling people in the water and caught up close and personal.
The video wouldn’t have been as likely to go viral if it weren’t for all the reactions, which is what people are talking about when they share the video. The big question when watching this is “Which person would I be?” Everyone wants to know how they would react if sharks swam near them. There are the stragglers walking along the waves. It isn’t clear if they know what’s going on, despite the screaming. There’s the person recording the video, who is apparently a vacationer from Alabama. And then there are the three women on the raft. One of whom thinks it’s amazing, one keeps yelling “No” after she is told it swam right under her, and the other who stays quiet but doesn’t seem thrilled to learn there are sharks in the water next to her.
While shark attack movies have built up the tension over the years, and there were certainly a lot of loud human voices in the video, it seemed like people were mostly too shocked to do anything but stay where they were and watch, whether in awe or terror.