sharks and danger

5

Κητω

Keto was the goddess of the dangers of the sea and, more specifically, of sea-monsters, whales and large sharks. She consorted with her brother Phorkys to produced a brood of fearsome monsters including the she-dragon Ekhidna, sailor-devouring Skylla, the hundred-headed serpent Ladon and the petrifying Gorgones.

(Context: the goat that helped us defeat two Ziwi has revealed herself to be a very irritable gnome druid. She’s restrained one of our comrades and insisted that he and two others–all three of them having been cursed to transform into beasts when the moon is full after being bit by a were-shark–are dangerous and need to come with her to see her elder. Not really trusting her–for good reason–we press her for answers.)

Marigold (the druid): Look, I can’t tell you! You have to come talk to the elder!

Silex (half-orc paladin, and one of the cursed): Where I come from, when one is having trouble saying something in full, they would write it upon a cliff. So, if you don’t mind, give us the Cliff Notes.

(Entire party just groans.)

Sorry to say this, but Kelly Slater and other surfers saying that sharks should be culled in big numbers are in the wrong. In the last 10 years 80 people have been killed by sharks. That’s not a huge imbalance or a big threat. There are areas where a handful attacks by sharks on humans happen every year and people are warned to not enter these waters. (The area which Kelly Slater talks about apparently saw 20 attacks since 2011, 8 of them deadly.) Yet that is still such a small number, compared to real common threats. More people get killed by dogs every single year. (Apparently 25.000 a year.) No one asks that all dogs should be killed. And are surfers forgetting that the ocean is the natural environment of sharks and NOT of humans?

You are entering the natural habitat of a dangerous (because of its anatomy, not because it loves to attack humans) animal, that can kill you if it mistakenly attacks you, and then you call for it to be extinct, so you can have some fun. That’s pretty ironic…

Sharks And Danger

St. Catharines Psychiatric Help Line, this is Nancy.

I’m sure this is all gonna sound really ridiculous and uh… I don’t exactly expect anyone to believe all this. Uh… for the last little while I’ve been kinda keeping correspondance with my sanity, and uhh… I really get the feeling that I’m starting to lose interest in the letter writing process. The pieces of the letters, they just get progressively shorter and shorter until it’s not even a reply. I uhh… the whole thing makes me really nervous. I just wish I could show you what a huge problem this is.

I kind of have this… Really terrible habit of asking myself all these stupid questions, right? Like what if uhh… what if there’s a spot on my body that I can touch to keep my heart from beating? or like what if, what if theres this uhh… stray bullet out there that’s gonna come through my window and take me out? like what if uhh… what if theres this huge unstoppable comet that’s just gonna like, destroy the earth and all of us? Like what… what if that’s happening right now? How can I avoid all these questions if I don’t have that? Like, who is gonna be here? Why… who is gonna be there… in the hospital? Who is gonna tell me that all this is bullshit… its a dream? Just a dream.This is not a joke. And uhh… i’ll never sleep.

The Signs As Sharks

Aries- Bull Shark 

-highly aggressive,

-most dangerous shark in the world

Taurus- Tiger Shark 

-large sharks, extremely dangerous to people when provoked

-eats anything 

Gemini- Mako Shark

-extremely aggressive

-fastest species of shark 

Cancer- Nurse Shark

-normally docile and calm

-becomes extremely aggressive when assumed to be harmless

Leo- Great White Shark 

-Most well known shark, what most people immediately think of when they think “shark”

-big and imposing 

-thought to be extremely dangerous but is actually rarely aggressive past curiosity 

Virgo- Thresher Shark

-Uses precision of tail to stun or kill prey

-beautiful rainbow shaped tail

Libra- Leopard Shark

-extremely social, lives in schools

-easily identified by beautiful markings

Scorpio- Goblin Shark

-fearsome looking 

-extremely precise and skillful 

Sagittarius- Hammerhead Shark

-one of the most effective hunters

-senses movement of stingrays

-embarks on huge summertime migrations 

Capricorn- Frilled Shark

-traditional fossil shark (very little change over the years of evolution)

-rarely seen and does poorly in captivity 

Aquarius- Megalodon 

-extinct, but when they existed they were the largest marine animal to ever live

-fantastic and massive hunters

-still perplexes scientists 

Pisces- Whale Shark 

-large but gentle and slow moving

-playful and non-aggressive with divers

-gives rides

youtube

There’s a new “horror” movie coming out, and the premise is that a female diver gets stuck sitting on a rock 200 yards from shore in what looks like maaaaaybe 30 foot deep water, with a great white “circling” nearby.

It is very stupid looking.

I could make all kinds of arguments about how there are only a few documented cases ever of sharks intentionally going after humans, about how we’re already trying to hunt them to extinction because people are terrified of them for no logical reason, about how the creator of Jaws regretted the shark phobia his work inspired for the rest of his life and became an extremely staunch defender of sharks as important ocean wildlife. I could say how pissed I am that yet again someone is making a “horror” movie whose premise is animals are evil and malicious and go after humans for no reason, nature and man are inherently at odds.

But instead I’m going to leave these pictures here and make the case that this is going to be a very inconsistent, confused film about a big angry fish who apparently changes size off camera.

Here we see the shark doing a Sea World style backflip in order to eat a guy right off his surfboard. (It then chases down guy number two, gets his legs in its mouth, and then… swims backwards? to dramatically pull him away from the rock?)

Aaand here we have a perfectly circular bite in the main character’s leg where the shark apparently shrunk way down, bit in deeply enough to leave a perfect circle of ouch in her flesh, and then let go. Either that, or she’s a giantess and her thigh is as big as a man’s entire torso.

Sharks, even great white sharks, really don’t give a fuck about humans. We are not food for them. They attack divers because they have relatively poor eyesight, and from below, a human paddling out into the water on a surfboard looks like a very fat, slow, awkward seal floundering on the surface. Sharks who do attack humans generally attack only once before realizing that this is not what they expected. That’s why there are shark attack survivors; the shark doesn’t try to eat the rest of the person they just bit. Great white sharks and tiger sharks can be dangerous, but so can any large animal. More Americans alone are killed by chairs, cows, deer, dogs, and vending machines (each, not added together) than are killed worldwide by sharks even on a very unlucky year.

Please be kind to sharks.

The Bestiary: Swellshark

The scariest thing about the sea is how little we know of it. As the saying goes, we know less about the oceans than the surface of the moon. And that’s the scientists. The laymen know even less, and even most of that is skewed and laden with misinformation, no little thanks to the media’s sensationalistic fuckery that proposes that the entire ocean is out to fillet your ass. (As a reminder, my continous insistence that the sea is a writhing Lovecraftian hellscape full of man-eating terror is a conscious exaggeration for the sake of comedy. Please do not take my writing style seriously.)

The worst case of this is obviously sharks. The poor things have been so much vilified for no reason. Ever since Jaws and its massive cultural impact, sharks became the go-to bad guy of the animal world, with real-life effects too. (Can I say widespread shark hunting after the movie came out? I’m sure I can.) It also caused various memetic bullshit spreading about sharks that means we ended up with films like this.

Pictured: what the fresh hell

A trend I noticed in this killer shark shittery is that the “killer shark” is always a Great White. Always, always a Great White, which is also the first thing that pops into people’s minds when someone says “shark”. It’s like other sharks don’t exist, which is sad because sharks are a group as diverse as, say, carnivore mammals. Can you imagine if people wrote off carnivores as just wolves and nothing else? Because this is exactly like that.

Sharks are crazy diverse, but we never manage to peel our eyes away from the Great White for a long enough time to notice how insane they are. We have stuff like sawfish,

dogfish,

frilled sharks,

zebra sharks,

angel sharks,

and the utterly ridiculous thing called the wobbegong. (Yes, that is a shark.)

What I’m basically saying is that sharks have as many forms as any other order of animals do, and people are so preoccupied with tacking as many CGI teeth on the Great White as it is humanly possible that we don’t notice how interesting, and weird, and fucking stupid sharks can be.

Seriously, I dare you to go to a shark horror movie and take the shark danger seriously after acquainting yourself with today’s specimen, the swellshark. Because this guy is just so ridiculous, I swear to Cthulhu.

This right here is today’s specimen, Cephaloscyllium ventriosum. It’s a pretty run-of-the-mill shark, small, brown and pointy-nosed, but its entire life goal is to methodically fuck up the fearsome reputation its Great White cousin has worked so hard for, and be absolutely laughable.

It spends all day being a lazy ass and sleeping in rocky crevices, hunting at night by being even more of a lazy ass and lying in wait until the prey is mere centimeters away, or even more of a lazy ass by laying on the rock bottom with its mouth open and literally waiting for the prey to swim into it. However, sometimes it can be a surpisingly daft little shit and raid human lobster traps without getting caught.

The stupid part is its self defense strategy.

So we’ve established that this little fuck lives in rock crevices. Naturally, this means that anything sufficiently determined and hungry can easily pull it out, right?

Wrong. Because if threatened, the swellshark lives up to its name by pulling the most ludicrous defense stunt this side of self destruction.

It sucks up water, and does this.

IT INFLATES. IT FUCKING INFLATES. THIS IS AN INFLATABLE SHARK. I QUIT.

Furthermore, it bites into its own tail and thus turns into a swollen little donut that’s completely impossible to dislodge from the crevice it’s in. I mean it works, but it’s so dumb.

To take away even more from the fearsome reputation of sharks, it is bioluminescent, and it has a tendency of sleeping in heaps of fellow little sharks.

So the next time someone puts out an Ultra Mutant Killer Shark movie, remember that there is a shark that glows in the dark, sleeps in cuddle piles and inflates to defend itself, and have a merry day laughing at the film’s stupidity.