Understanding Fear Of Sharks and How to Navigate Through it

The Greek words galeos and phobos are the origins of the word galeophobia (fear). Galeophobia, or the fear of cats, is occasionally referred to as ailurophobia because the Greek word galeos is derived from galee, which is a word that also means polecat and weasel. In this article, we will talk about fear of sharks.

When you think of a shark, the first image that comes to mind is of a vicious creature that is constantly on the lookout for unsuspecting humans. Regarding sharks and dolphins, there are a variety of opinions. Selachopphobia, sometimes known as galeophobia, is a strong dislike of sharks. This is one of the most prevalent worries regarding the water. The majority of humans are afraid of these animals because they are among the most dangerous predators on the planet.

Causes Of Galeophobia

Few individuals will contest the fact that sharks are awful. Undoubtedly, the “Jaws” theme song is currently playing in your head. The fear of sharks has come from Hollywood films. Due of how sharks portray in the media, such as in novels, movies, and other forms of communication, many people have misconceptions about them. 

Few people have actually had a shark attack on them, and the trauma of that experience may lead them to develop a very strong phobia of sharks. But the great majority of people haven’t and won’t ever experience 

Symptoms Of Galeophobia

Even the simplest mention of or exposure to shark imagery can cause significant panic or anxiety attacks in galeophobic patients. These behaviours indicate a fear of sharks:

  • A pounding heart
  • Breathlessness and chest pain
  • Excessive trembling or sweating
  • Feeling unwell
  • Experiencing significant mental distress, dizziness, or faintness.

Many people who are afraid of the water may scream or cover their eyes if a movie has a water scene in it. Some people exhibit avoidant behaviour; they avoid all things shark-related. This includes aquariums, theme parks that model the Sea World, beaches, rivers, and zoos. despite the fact that swimming in public pools or the ocean is not advised.

Treatment For The Fear Of Sharks 

Treatment for galeophobia involves exposure therapy. Throughout this kind of therapy, a patient gradually introduce to a variety of shark species. At first glance, it might resemble shark images. Once the patient has finished this, the next step is for them to actually see sharks in an aquarium. Certain theme parks provide “swim with the sharks” activities for those who are afraid of sharks. Patients who use these programmes may be able to manage their concerns. For some people, these might work, but for others, the programmes might be excessively strict.

Two alternative therapies are hypnotherapy and psychotherapy. In this kind of therapy, the therapist searches for the underlying reasons why the patient initially had galeophobia. It’s beneficial to identify the problem’s origin. Similar tactics are used in cognitive behavioral therapy. This helps a person understand the psychological causes of their acute shark phobia.

How To Overcome The Fear Of Sharks 

Find Out Everything You Can About Sharks

Do some research about sharks to start conquering your phobia of them. You can refute the idea that propagates by popular culture about the man-eating sea monster by analysing shark behaviour.

Understand That Sharks Don’t Eat Humans

Sharks do not eat humans. There is no proof that sharks eat people. Sharks are not into eating humans because they have an excessive amount of bones and little fat. Compared to people, sharks much prefer eating seals or sea turtles.

Know the Likelihood of a Shark Attack

Most people who are afraid of sharks are most terrified of being attacked by one. We picture huge, razor-sharp fangs as we walk on the ocean floor. However, shark attacks are exceedingly rare. Typically, just 5 people per year die as a result of shark attacks.

Learn Which Shark Species Are Most Likely To Bite People

Only a small number of the known 465 species have been reported to bite people. Human bite reports have been made for the great white shark, bull shark, and tiger shark. 

Keep In Mind That the Major Reasons for Shark Bites Are Curiosity or Confusion Regarding Identity

The majority of shark bites are not too dangerous. With the aid of its bites, which are primarily exploratory, the shark locates the victim. The motion a person makes when they reach out and use their fingers to explore something comparable to a shark bite.

Consider the Threat That People Pose to Sharks

Humans hurt one other significantly more frequently than sharks do, despite the fact that sharks rarely do so. Each year, between 26 and 73 million sharks are illegally killed. Their fins harvest for the market. On occasion, the shark’s alive body dump overboard. On average, 11,000 sharks every hour are killed.

Refuse Sensationalism in the Media

Sharks allegedly transform into man-eating predators from the ocean’s depths. Think about how often the Jaws theme is there to frighten viewers. Movies like Jaws have perpetuated this misperception. However, more than just monster movies are to blame for the continued existence of this false perception.

Consult a Shark Specialist

Ask the shark keeper questions when you visit a local aquarium. These professionals can answer any questions and allay your concerns because they have a thorough understanding of shark biology.

Confront the sharks

Swimming with sharks is one of the finest methods to get over your fear of them. In many aquariums, you can swim with sharks. By doing this, you place yourself in a safe, controllable environment where you can interact with sharks, deal with your fears, and begin to dispel the myth that all sharks are ferocious predators.

Go Out Into the Water

Go swimming. Surf the internet. Take to the water in a boat. Recognize that a shark won’t come to you just because you’re in the water. Don’t let a shark phobia prevent you from engaging in ocean activities.

Visit the Sharks

If the thought of diving into the water or swimming with sharks makes you uncomfortable, start out slowly. Visit your local aquarium and the shark exhibit to get up up and personal with a shark. Look inside the glass to catch a glimpse of the shark’s eyes. Be ready to encounter sharks. Keep a close eye on them, pay attention to how they behave around other marine species, and observe their movements and swimming style. Consider them more of an animal than a monster. 

Talk to a Therapist or Hypnotherapist 

If none of these fixes work, think about consulting a professional. Your therapist might be able to help you determine the underlying causes of the phobia, which may be related to other problems. A hypnotherapist’s help could help you get over your fear without using hypnosis.

Avoid Dark, Murky Water

Dangerous water is there in areas where you can’t easily be visible. Unaware that you are a person, a shark can mistake you for prey. A shark bite could happen as a result.

Do Not Swim in the Ocean at Dawn or Dark

Shark activity is highest at these two times of the day. They’re eating right now. Sometimes it can be risky to go swimming, diving, or surfing. Especially in waters where sharks are known to frequent. If you interfere with a shark’s feeding time, you face the danger of getting bit more frequently.

Never Go Into the Water Alone

An individual has a larger chance of getting a bite from a shark than does a group. You can swim, dive, and surf together. If it’s not possible, stay close by and in the lifeguards’ line of sight.

The Bottom Line 

One of the phobias that people profess to understand, even if they are not truly afraid of sharks, is galeophobia. Relieve yourself by remembering that you are not alone. Although harmful, sharks are necessary for the existence of marine life and must thus be protected.


Can Sharks Detect Fear?

People are constantly worried that a shark will be able to smell their anxiety if they are nearby. If the shark senses your fear, will it attack? I think there’s some validity to this. Sharks’ keen sense of smell allows them to perceive fear, and theories have been proposed to explain how this is possible. The most likely explanation is that sharks can detect electrical impulses that are released. When a person’s heartbeat quickens in response to fear.

Why Is Our Fear of Sharks So Intense?

Humans are particularly prone to shark phobia because we feel uncontrollable in the water. We don’t feel comfortable in the water. Even though we can’t outrun a bear, a large animal, or a rabid dog, all of which we are more likely to encounter on land we have a tendency to believe that we have more control over the situation.

What Smell Irritates Sharks?

According to traditional research, sharks do not appreciate the smell of natural repellents. According to this, a shark detests the stench of a dead shark.

How Should You React if a Shark Approaches?

You might find yourself in a position where a shark approaches you, especially if you are a diver. When it happens:

  • Do not look away from the shark.
  • Maintain composure. Avoid jerky motions.
  • Assuming a defensive stance.
  • Strike it in the face and gills if it attacks. It will flee if it receives a severe hit to the gills.
  • Get out of the water.

Leave a Comment