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More Likely: Being Bitten By a Shark or by Luis Suarez?

Dan Kitwood/Getty

Getting bitten by a shark is a pretty scary thought. But what’s more likely: being bitten by a shark or by Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez?

Thanks to statistics, we know!

Suarez’s bite rate of three in 441 [matches] means we can expect him to take a bite out of someone every 147 matches, but if we assume that there are 14 players at risk of being bitten (that’s 11 starting players and assuming three substitutes come on) that means Suarez has bitten three players out of the 6,160 who have lined up against him in his professional career.

We can therefore conclude that Luis Suarez has roughly a one in 2,000 chance of biting any individual opposition player.


(GIF via @FlyByKnite)

Okay, so what about sharks?

New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

A popular tourist and surfer destination, [New Smyrna Beach, Florida] has been called the “shark attack capital of the world” and has dozens of attacks per year – most of which are “nibbles” rather than life-threatening. The Global Shark Attack File has records of four attacks in the half year so far in 2014; the town’s population was 22,464 as of the 2010 census. Assuming everyone in the town goes for a swim in the ocean at least once per year (or that it averages out to be effectively 22,464 swimmers per year), that gives us a figure of one in 2,808 swimmers getting bitten this year. New Smyrna Beach’s record for the number of bites in a year is 28 in 2008; that would give us one in roughly 800 swimmers being bitten. The average is likely somewhere in the range between the two figures.


So, there you have it: you are about equally as likely to be bitten by a shark or by Luis Suarez. So be safe this summer and avoid shark and Suarez infested waters.

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