Editor's note: A version of this article was originally published Aug. 4, 2011.
The Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" is a cultural phenomenon, bringing the apex predators into the spotlight. Experts are eager to dismiss the view that all sharks are bloodthirsty hunters. Patch visited two local aquariums and a university to get the facts straight.
"More people are killed by coconuts every year worldwide than get killed by sharks," said Chris Brodie, outreach manager at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
Locally, mainly docile swell sharks, leopard sharks and horn sharks roam the waters near the shore. Great white sharks are spotted on occasion, but the more dangerous sharks tend to stay in open ocean waters.
Dr. Chris Lowe, who teaches marine biology at CSU Long Beach, spends much of his time in the field tagging and tracking sharks. He said they are an important component of the ecosystem, and "aren't just something menacing or scary or entertaining."
Watch Patch's exclusive video for other fun shark facts!