North Carolina

Shark mystery solved: New map shows exactly where sharks lurk off NC beaches

Map posted this week by the Carolina Beach & Kure Beach Community Facebook page.
Map posted this week by the Carolina Beach & Kure Beach Community Facebook page. Carolina Beach & Kure Beach Community map

One of the great mysteries of the ocean -- where sharks are hiding -- has been solved with a map shared thousands of times in the past day on social media.

It was posted Wednesday on a North Carolina group’s Facebook page, with just a one sentence explanation: “This shows you where you might find sharks in the ocean.”

The revelation?

They’re everywhere, the map shows with 100 percent accuracy.

“We wanted to make sure people stay safe so we showed them where sharks are located,” the Facebook page states. “People finally understand sharks live in salt water...The map was made as a joke, so the reaction has been pretty funny.”

Sand tiger sharks in North Carolina and along the broader east coast of the USA help track shark movement and behavior over time.

The map was posted to a Facebook page devoted to the Carolina Beach and Kure Beach communities, two popular tourist towns south of Wilmington. It has gotten more than 10,000 reactions in the past day, including more than 3,000 shares.

Its tongue-in-cheek message is timely, coming just days after the state had its second shark attack of the month.

In both cases, teens were attacked while swimming or surfing: One lost a leg and some fingers in the attack, and the other suffered a 10-inch cut.

North Carolina’s coastal waters are known to be home to great white, tiger and bull sharks, among others. A recent study by Duke University discovered sand tiger sharks are attracted to the plentiful shipwrecks off North Carolina, which are part of their “migratory paths.”

Nearly 300 people have commented on the shark map, many of them suggesting similar maps could be created to warn tourists about snakes, alligators, stingrays, jellyfish....and mosquitoes.

“Sharks live in the OCEAN???? Who knew!?!?!?!” posted Cheryl J Stewart-Popovec.

“Does the tracker have an app?” asked Amanda Drye.

“Just stay the hell out of the water,” wrote Lisa Duke.

“I wasn’t born with gills so I will consider it THEIR home and just avoid swimming in the ocean,” posted Kristen Diehl on Facebook.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, the LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.
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