Several beaches in South Florida are closed off to swimmers because thousands of sharks have been spotted swimming alongside the shoreline. WPTV reports that an estimated 15,000 sharks are migrating north using the currents of the Atlantic as part of their annual voyage home after heading south for the winter.
The station says most of the sharks it has spotted so far appear to be spinner sharks, which are known for leaping out of the water and spinning in the air as they hunt their prey.
And while swimmers are being kept out of the water during this especially crowded shark passing, one expert says we are actually much closer to the elusive predators than we might like to think.
Florida Atlantic University shark researcher Steve Kajiura told TC Palm that during the months of January and February, a shark is only an average of 60 feet away from swimmers.
“There are thousands of sharks right there, and yet this year, there have been no bites in Palm Beach County waters,” he said. “Our data has shown that the bulk of the migration occurs in January and February, but it may be a little behind this year due to the warmer weather and water temperatures.”
The Broward Palm Beach New Times says Palm Beach County is one of the most likely areas for humans to be bitten by sharks. Still, the odds of being bitten remain incredibly low, even during the peak migration season.