July 04, 2011 12:00 PM

>SHARKS!

Juliet Eilperin spent months getting close to them for her book Demon Fish. “They’re dangerous,” she says, “but so are we.”

THEY’RE LESS DEADLY THAN TOASTERS

Electric toasters kill more people a year than sharks do. So do chair-related accidents and elephant attacks and the flu.

THERE ARE WAYS TO AVOID ENCOUNTERS

Stay out of the water at dawn, and dusk and don’t swim with a dog. Scientists are working on an actual shark repellent.

THEY’RE ENDANGERED

Humans kill 80 to 100 million a year. Roughly a third of shark species are threatened with extinction.

THEY’RE WORTH SAVING

Sharks are important because they remove the weak and the sick from the ocean, kind of like a garbage collector. And where the most sharks are is where you see the most vibrant diversity of species.

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