Taking selfies while on holiday can be risky. Pexels

London - It's not an urban myth, you do need to be careful when taking a selfie – especially when you're on holiday.

Research shows that selfies have claimed five times the number of lives lost to shark attacks in six years.

The deaths, which are often caused by falls or car crashes, are creeping up in number as snappers take more risks with increasingly sophisticated smartphones and long-range selfie-sticks.

Selfie deaths – the statistics

Between October 2011 and November 2017, 259 people died taking selfies across the globe compared with 50 killed by sharks.

Research published in India’s Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care shows that men made up three quarters of the selfie deaths – in drownings, crashes, falls or shooting accidents.

India, with a population of more than 1.3 billion and 800 million mobile phones, made up more than half the global number of selfie deaths, with 159 recorded in the period.

The country has now set up "no selfie" zones to tackle the growing issue – with 16 in Mumbai.

Meanwhile there were 16 selfie deaths recorded in Russia and 14 in the US.

In Russia, people died falling from bridges and even handling a land mine, while in the USA most fatalities were caused by people shooting themselves while seeking the perfect pose.

Several people have also fallen to their deaths at the Grand Canyon.

In January, Taiwanese hiker and social media star Gigi Wu – known as the "bikini climber" for taking selfies from summits in a bikini – died after falling into a ravine.

* Daily Mail