The Story Behind California’s Red Triangle Is Terrifying But True

California is famous for its gorgeous beaches, but there’s a particular stretch of ocean that has a bloody reputation.

California’s “Red Triangle” is the site of over 1/3 of great white shark attacks. The danger zone begins around Bodega Bay and extends south about 50 miles west of San Francisco. The triangle juts out beyond the Farallon Islands and down to Big Sur south of Monterey. The triangle encompasses about 200 miles of coastline.

So why do 38 percent of all great white shark attacks happen in this relatively small area? Researchers believe it’s due in part to the plentiful elephant seals, harbor seals, sea lions and sea otters. While sharks do attack humans, they actually prefer to feed on these animals.

Even though this phenomenon may sound scary, it’s important to remember that shark attacks are pretty rare. In fact, only 5 to 15 percent of them are fatal.Rather than specifically hunting humans for food, sharks are thought to be naturally inquisitive creatures and researchers believe that they usually approach humans out of curiosity rather than hunger. However, this curiosity means that they are sometimes willing to “taste test” new objects.

Swimmers and surfers enjoying the waters of the Red Triangle are urged to stay alert and use good judgement. Check out this video from National Geographic for more information about the Red Triangle.

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