Marine life active along shores as water heats up

Source: Alex Black via Facebook
Source: Alex Black via Facebook

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A vacationer in Hilton Head Island was only in water up to her knees when she was bit by a shark on the foot Thursday.  The woman managed to escape with just the loss of blood, a foot that now has stitches, and a terrible scare. But the incident has others along the shore doing a double take before they take a swim.

"I'm going to go get wet in the pool because it's a lot safer," jokes Latayna McNair, a vacationer in town for the weekend.

All along the shores of the Grand Strand Friday there was plenty of marine activity. It's easy to find jelly fish that wash ashore. A viewer in Cherry Grove sent us a photo of what could be a shark tooth, and some say schools of fish are everywhere.

"Some herring gulls are diving into the water and coming up with minnows," said Gary Johnson, another vacationer in town for the week.

The experts over at Ripley's Aquarium say with the water temperature rising, you'll notice a lot more activity. If you spot a sting Ray, crab, or jellyfish while swimming, don't go near it. The animals aren't trying to attack you, but if they feel threatened, they will sting out of instinct. If a school of fish swims near you, what you do next is crucial.

"Sharks are chasing fish, so if you see a school of fish nearby, you want to get out of the water. The sharks aren't coming for you, but they mistake you for a fish and bite accidentally," says aquarist Becca Gangler.

According to Oceana, there were 15 shark attacks in South Carolina during a four-year period from 2006 to 2010, and none of them were fatal. But before you rush into the water this weekend, remember that when swimming in the ocean, you're in the animals' home and it should always be respected.

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