"Shark attacks are rare and it doesn't matter whether you call them attacks or bites or bumps -- your chances of having any of them are slim," Burgess said.
How slim? The Florida Museum of Natural History has a host of phenomena that are more likely than a shark attack, and National Geographic in 2011 put together a list of things that are more likely to injure you. Among them:
--Since 1948, those in any U.S. state with alligators had a better chance of being killed by one of the reptiles, which had killed 18 people as of 2005, than they did of suffering a fatal shark attack. Conversely, those folks still had a slightly better chance of a nonfatal shark attack.
--Between 1985 and 2010, Floridians were almost 21 times as likely to be killed by a tornado (125 deaths) as by a shark (six). Between 1990 and 2009, the state also saw 2,272 bicycle deaths, compared to four from sharks.
--In the coastal U.S., lightning killed almost 76 times as many people (1,970) as did sharks (26) between 1959 and 2010.
--From 2001 to 2010, dogs killed more than 26 times the number of people (263) than did sharks (10) in the U.S.
--Between 1984 and 1987, New York City had almost 1,600 incidents annually of humans biting other humans. That's not really germane to this story so much as it is plain odd.
--Sand-hole collapses aren't generally considered among the greatest threats in the U.S., as they killed only 16 people between 1990 and 2006 -- but that's still five more people than sharks killed.
--In 1996, toilets injured 43,000 Americans, buckets and pails hurt almost 11,000 and room fresheners were responsible for 2,600 injuries in the nation. Sharks injured 13 people that same year. (There are a variety of toilet-related injuries: Seats can fall, smashing boys' genitalia mid-micturition; cracks in toilet seats can pinch a user's buttocks; and, as the ladies have explained time and time again, gentlemen, leaving the toilet seat up can cause folks to crash into the toilet bowl, damaging their buttocks and/or tailbones.)
While it can't always be said that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than being the victim of a shark attack -- it depends on which type of lottery and how many people are playing -- it seems certain you're better served watching out for that commode than for fins on the water.