After reports of twin shark attacks off the shore of North Carolina, some are asking the Jaws-esque question, "Is it safe to go into the water?"

Christopher Ingraham of the Washington Post crunched the numbers and says...yes, it is, at least compared to other potentially deadly animals:

If we want to properly contextualize shark attacks, we need to compare sharks to their peers -- bears and gators and the myriad other fanged barbed and venomous creatures that could sting us or bite us or otherwise ruin our day.

To that end, I gathered the statistics on animal-caused fatalities in the U.S. between 2001 and 2013. Most of these come from the CDC's Wonder database, which contains horrifically detailed causes of death like "other specified venomous arthropods."

Sharks killed about 1 person per year between 2001 and 2013. Alligators and bears were at the same level. Snakes are held responsible for 6 deaths per year while spiders kill 7.

What are called "non-venomous arthropods" -- various ants and other non-poisonous bugs -- kill 9 people each year. Cows -- yes, cows -- kill about 20 people a year, mostly farm workers.

Dogs kill 28 people per year. And the top spot on the list goes to bees, wasps and hornets, responsible for 58 deaths each year, mostly due to anaphylactic shock after a sting.

And now you know.


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