According to the Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File, 44 recorded shark attacks have occurred in Texas waters since 1911. But, a few shark-infested Texas beaches have more attacks than any other place in Texas. Here, we’ll learn about the specific places in the lone star state that have been home to more shark attacks than others.
Despite the 44 confirmed shark attacks in Texas, your chances of being bitten by a shark in Texas are incredibly small. In fact, the last recorded Texas shark attack occurred in 2016. The last fatal shark attack in the state occurred in 1962. Prior to that, there hadn’t been a fatal Texas shark attack since 1937.
Now, let’s take a look at the shark-infested Texas beaches with the most attacks.
5. Pirates Beach
One of the most recent shark attacks in Texas occurred at Pirates Beach in 2016. At this shark-infested Texas beach, a six-year-old girl was bitten on the leg by a 3-4 foot shark of unknown species. In fact, the species of shark implicated in the attack is almost never recorded. Before that, the last attack at Pirates Beach occurred in 2004 and involved a 16-year-old boy who was bitten on the leg by a 3-5 foot long shark. Both children survived with only minor injuries.
4. Surfside Beach
Surfside Beach is one of the most shark-infested Texas Beaches. This beach has been home to three separate attacks, none of which were fatal. The first shark attack at Surfside Beach occurred in 1989 and involved a 12-year-old boy. The boy was bitten by a four-foot-long shark while surfing. The next attack occurred in 2013 and involved a 15-year-old boy who sustained minor injuries. The most recent shark attack at Surfside Beach occurred in 2016. This attack involved an adult male spearfisher who was bitten by a pair of bull sharks.
3. Galveston Beach
Galveston Beach is another shark-infested Texas beach. This beach has had three attacks, one of which was fatal. The fatal attack occurred in 1937 and resulted in the death of a 14-year-old boy who had been swimming at night. The next attack occurred in 2010 and involved an adult male fisherman. The final attack occurred in 2015 and involved a 13-year-old boy who sustained minor injuries from a 4-5 foot long shark.
2. South Padre Island
The second most shark-infested Texas beach is actually a whole island of beaches. South Padre Island has had eight total shark attacks. The first occurred in 1953, and the most recent occurred in 2011. None of the attacks were fatal, and most resulted in only minor injuries.
The most recent attack, in 2011, involved an adult male who received minor injuries from a shark while surf fishing. In 2009, a shark bit a 14-year-old girl. Previously, in 2006, a man was bitten on the foot while surfing. Another man was bitten on the lower leg in 2005. In 2004, a mako shark bit a surfer’s board without actually biting the surfer. In 2001, a shark bit a 14-year-old boy on the leg, though the injury was minor. Before 2001, there hadn’t been an attack since a bite on a 13-year-old girl in 1984.
1. Mustang Island/Port Aransas
The most shark-infested Texas beach is located on Mustang Island. Mustang Island encompasses a series of connected beaches, which terminate at Port Aransas in the north. These beaches have seen nine non-fatal shark attacks over the years. In 1987, the first year of shark attacks on Mustang Island, there were three attacks.
The most recent shark attack on Mustang Island occurred in 2011. It involved a 14-year-old boy who was bitten on the foot while fishing. Prior to that, the last attack occurred in 2005, when a six-year-old boy was bitten on the foot. Five years before that, in 2000, a lemon shark bit a five-year-old boy on the foot. Additional attacks occurred in 1990 and 1995, all of which resulted in minor injuries.
How to Stay Safe at the Beach
Anytime you step into the ocean, you’re stepping into the sharks’ domain. The ocean is their home; it’s where they birth their pups, hunt for food, and keep the marine ecosystem in check. Sharks are both apex predators and keystone species, which means their presence is vital to maintaining the health of our marine food web.
So, to reduce your risk of being attacked by a shark while swimming, wading, surfing, or fishing, here are a few easy steps you can take. First, avoid wearing flashy jewelry or bright, contrasting colors. Both of these things attract sharks’ attention. Don’t splash unnecessarily, and never swim near popular fishing areas or near continental dropoffs, as sharks tend to hunt in these places. Be mindful of your surroundings, and if you see a shark, don’t approach it.
Remember, sharks are not mindless killers; they’re not swimming around looking for humans to bite. The overwhelming majority of bites on humans are non-fatal and often due to either mistaken identity or self-defense.
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