Senior Editor

The Inertia

Remember that time Laird Hamilton told TMZ that menstruating women attract sharks? That was a weird thing to say. “The biggest, most common reason to be bitten is a woman with her period,” he explained with a straight face. “People don’t even think about that.”

Although it was quickly debunked by basically everyone, it remained a topic of conversation for quite some time–mostly because it involved a hilarious click bait trifecta: Laird, sharks, and periods. It was perfect! Despite the scientific debunkings, there’s nothing like a real-life demonstration like the one above where a guy cuts his wrists while sharks swim around him.

So is it true that sharks can smell a single drop of blood in an Olympic swimming pool? Well, kind of. It’s true that they do have a pretty incredible sense of smell, but a few tiny drops, while vaguely enticing, ain’t going to set off a feeding frenzy. Sharks use a variety of senses to seek out prey–smell, yes, but sight, and sound, as well.  Oh, and one more very strange sense: a lateral line of sensory receptors that runs along their sides. Known as the ampullae of Lorenzini, they consist of a network of electroreceptors that sense electrical fields around the shark. Since anything that’s alive and in salt water produces an electrical current anytime it uses a muscle, those receptors pick it up. It’s also been suggested that the ampullae of Lorenzini might also aid in navigation.

But let’s get back to the guy who cuts his wrists to prove a point. Yeah, people get bitten by sharks, and yeah, that’s terrifying. We’re not exactly on the menu, though–a fact that doesn’t help you if you’ve just had your leg bitten off and spat out because it tastes bad… which will likely never happen to you. And it shouldn’t have to be said, but don’t do this.

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