The Art of Deception
Animals have been warding off predators since the history of time. Be it man using weapons against its enemy, an animal using its natural defense as protection or simply hiding in plain sight, animals have been escaping death. An innovative company has taken an animal’s natural defense to develop a way to protect humans against sharks. A shark’s predatory strength is to come up on unsuspecting prey – basically the old surprise attack. When a shark understands its presence is known, it is much more likely to swim away then to engage. Shark Eyes USA, a shark-loving, innovative company, has taken the power of this and turned it into a shark friendly way of protecting surfers. How? They simply put a set of eyes on surfboards.
Through the use of a decal depicting eyes, the shark is fooled into thinking it’s been spotted, hence removing the element of surprise which results in deterring the shark. Makes sense right? Many fish and other wildlife commonly use large false eyes (mimicry) to deter predators so why not humans?
Humans actually already do. An experiment conducted a few years back in the Ganges Delta in India is one example. Bengal tigers living under protection on a reserve had been killing about 60 people a year. The Bengal tiger, like the shark, will attack from behind (or in the case of the shark from beneath). Workers in the mangrove foresters started wearing face masks on the back of their heads. For the first three years of the experiment, no person wearing a mask had been killed. Conversely, it was reported 29 people who were not wearing masks were killed. Among the victims: two fishermen who left their masks in their boats as they went ashore to cook their meal and a woodcutter who was attacked from behind by a tiger when he sat down and took off his mask for lunch.
Many species use mimicry to fool predators: butterflies, beetles, caterpillars … all have patterns that look like big eyes so why not humans? We know that this is a deterrent that works which is precisely the premise behind Shark Eyes.
According to their website, “Shark Eyes was inspired when founder Shanan Worrall and his dive buddy Joe Knight were trying to stay safe in the water while working as shell divers, ‘We were utilizing all these deterrents, but still we were at risk, and wondered what else we could do to protect ourselves.’“ They both understood through the experience of staring down a shark that it worked but wondered how they could somehow capture the same idea in the event of a shark coming from behind or beneath. That’s when the theory of mimicry came to mind and grew into an ecofriendly, affordable, effective shark deterrent available on the market today.
Sharkbytes absolutely loves and supports any shark friendly deterrent as they fit in comfortably to our mission to improve shark-human relations. We believe with this deterrent, under the right conditions such as clear deep waters, it could possibly help remove the element of surprise from bigger sharks like the great white which tend to strike from below. We also believe that this product could be effective on paddleboards and Kayaks since they tend to be used in deeper water.
We here at SharkBytes want to say thank you. We appreciate Shark Eyes USA’s efforts to help enable people and sharks to coexist in the same environment without harm to man or shark.