In June alone, North Carolina has had three shark attacks off its coast, and that has many wondering whether this amount of shark activity is unusual.
The victims range in age from 8 to 19.
Tyler Bowling is with the Florida Program for Shark Research and works on documenting and mapping shark attacks around the world for the International Shark Attack File. He says there are differences in all three cases.
The first victim was bitten by a bull shark. Bowling says this is an aggressive species that want others out of its territory.
The second bite likely came from a smaller species called a blacktip shark. It hunts in the shallows and probably mistook a surfer for the fish it typically eats. When these sharks bite something much larger than they were expecting, the shark usually gets scared and lets go.
Less is known about the most recent attack which took place over the weekend.
In terms of whether this number of attacks is unusual, Bowling doesn't think so.
“We haven't [normally] seen just a small concentration within a brief time period, however, North Carolina fluctuates kind of wildly as far as bite numbers from year to year, so there's really not any need for alarm at this point ... I don't think that bites are on the increase, if you will,” he says.
Over the last decade, Bowling says North Carolina usually sees one to eight shark bites a year.