What do you think is the best way to stay safe from sharks when diving? Most divers resort to metal armour, harpoons or simply staying inside a cage. However, what if I told you that magnets could help keep sharks away! Research has shown that magnets could be the way to ensure health and safety while diving among sharks. Insane, rhigh? Well, Eric Stroud runs a U.S research company called SharkDefense and has proven that some sharks cannot bear to be anywhere near magnets. He first discovered this in 2005 when he accidentally dropped a magnet into his shark tank and all the lemon and nurse sharks in the tank raced away as fast as they could. How lucky is that! Accidentally discovering something that could help save people’s lives in the future.
Eric Stroud demonstrated just how effective magnets are at repelling sharks in a video, the footage shows one of his helpers coaxing a small lemon shark into a sleep-like state by holding it gently upside down. Mr Stroud then holds a piece of card next to the sharks head to ensure it cannot see what is coming towards it, he then moved a magnet right next to its head and the shark instantly started to bend away from it as the shark is unable to stay close to the magnet. The process taking place for this amazing reaction is thought to be the magnets interfering with the sharks’ electrical sensors, called the ampullae of lorenzini. These are used by sharks to find their way around because they tune into the electrical fields of the oceans current.
However, not everyone is convinced of the effectiveness of using magnets to keep sharks at bay, popular TV series Mythbusters conducted a series of experiments to test the theory and found that magnets only scare some species of sharks, they also found that sharks changed their behaviour towards magnets under different circumstances. Their experiments showed that when food was attached to the magnets the lemon shark would not be affected by the magnet and would just eat the food, so don’t go diving next to sharks with magnets in your pockets just yet!