Killer Shark Or Crocodile Is Not More Likely To Do It Again

The 'taste of blood' concept is a myth.

06/06/2016 2:39 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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Great White Sharks have not been known to 'get a taste' for humans.

There's a belief that once an animal has the taste of human blood, it will kill again. But Australian experts say it's not the case for sharks and crocodiles.

Rather, there's an inherently human desire to have action taken after a random, tragic event.

A saltwater crocodile that ate a woman in Queensland was caught and killed less than a week after the attack in the Daintree last week. Meanwhile in Western Australia, a large shark was caught and killed a day after the fatal shark attack of a surfer.

Baited drum lines have also been set near the site where a female diver was killed in a shark attack in WA on Sunday.

The WA government has said it will continue to hunt and trap sharks it believes are "a threat to swimmers" yet University of Queensland emeritus professor Gordon Grigg told The Huffington Post Australia there was no scientific evidence to suggest sharks or crocodiles became more dangerous after attacking a human.

"Neither sharks nor crocodiles routinely predate humans," Grigg said.

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Human remains were found inside a saltwater crocodile caught in Queensland.

"I don't think there's any science to suggest that a shark would learn to feed on humans and target humans selectively in a location.

"White sharks are very wide ranging, satellite tracking shows they make very large journeys. I also don't know of any data that suggests crocodiles start to target humans specifically either."

University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences associate professor Ian Tibbetts agreed, saying it was near impossible to catch the right shark after an attack.

"It's difficult to determine who did what in a big ocean," Tibbetts told HuffPost Australia.

"After someone has been attacked, it's really difficult to assign blame.

"The only instance I can think of that would suggest a shark could learn to make an easy meal of a human was the attacks that inspired the movie Jaws in New Jersey in [1916] where three people were attacked, presumably by the same shark."

University of Adelaide Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies director Sandy McFarlane said one of the reasons people may want to see a deadly animal killed was because it was easier to come to terms with one rogue animal than to accept a complex environment.

"In these situations, there's natural propensity to single out a cause that's easily manageable, like there's one bad croc or one bad shark and if it's attacked once, obviously it will do it again -- that it likes the taste," McFarlane told HuffPost Australia.

"Whereas accepting that it's actually a more complex problem is much more difficult to take in and make coherent.

"When you have an airplane crash, people want to see that it's pilot error rather something wrong with the airplane, because it's much safer to accept one bad pilot than the inherent dangers of flying."

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