COCOA BEACH, Florida – It’s March again which means that several species of sharks most responsible for biting humans are swimming off of the coast of east Central Florida.
Historically, shark attack numbers begin to spike in the second half of March and throughout April coinciding with increased shark and human activity during springtime.
Blacktip sharks 2 to 5-feet-long are present in the surf zone and shallow waters. Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) are the number one species responsible for biting humans along the U.S. East Coast. The shark has black tips on its pectoral fins and grows to no more than about six feet.
Blacktip sharks can swim in just inches of water where toddlers often play.
Bull sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) are responsible for most of the fatal shark attacks in Florida. They are common along the east coast of Florida and juvenile bull sharks frequent the coast from Palm Beach, Florida to Daytona Beach, Florida. That’s because of the Indian River Lagoon, which extends along Florida’s east coast from southern Volusia County to Palm Beach County, is an important nursery habitat for baby bull sharks.
When fully grown, bull sharks reach 7 to 11 feet in length and weigh between 200 and 300 pounds.
Spinner sharks 6 to 8-feet-long are present off of Cocoa Beach, primarily around, and just beyond, the wave break. Spinner sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) can grow up to 9 feet long and have a unique feeding technique of leaping into the air while spinning.
Small Bonnethead sharks (also known as Shovelhead sharks) 2 to 3-feet-long that resemble Hammerhead sharks are present in the surf zone.
In addition to spotting the telltale shark fins, fish jumping out of water or sea birds hovering at the surface of the water could indicate the presence of feeding sharks.
Always swim near a lifeguard area (their elevated position on a lifeguard tower is better for shark spotting) and pay attention to warning flags.
Brevard Times reports on shark attacks, shark bites, and shark sightings in Cocoa Beach sooner than any other local media source.
Cannonball jellyfish are present along the beaches and in the ocean off Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Cannonball jellyfish have a 7 to 10-inch dome-shaped bell that is light in color with darker pigmentation around its edges.
Their short and stocky tentacles are located mostly underneath the dome which helps prevent accidental contact with humans.