I'm not sure what exactly possessed me to write on this topic, but I
think that the various types of potentially dangerous fish out there deserve
a bit more attention. And when I say a bit, I mean a lot. Or at least
a G/B/U rating. I'm specifically looking at fish that could potentially
kill or seriously injure you. Fish that you don't want to go swimming
with. Bad fish.
Sharks: Sharks aren't actually fish, biologically
speaking, so don't feel the need to point that out to me. I already know
this. But as far as we need be concerned for this article, sharks can
count as fish. They swim, they have fins, and they aren't mammals. And
everyone knows that sharks are all very dangerous and love eating humans,
right? Actually this isn't true, there are several hundred species of
sharks, and only 20 or so are known to be a threat to humans. Generally
we aren't a preferred meal for sharks, but since the motions of a human
swimming are rather similar to those of a wounded fish, we sometimes get
attacked. But you are far more likely to get seriously injured moving
furniture upstairs. Still, are far as dangerous fish go, sharks are Good.
Barracudas: These nasty tropical shallow
water fish have a nasty set of teeth and can do some serious damage to
the unsuspecting swimmer, although probably not fatal damage. Still, they
have a reputation for being vicious and dangerous. They don't prey on
humans, of course, but I wouldn't recommend swimming anywhere one might
be lurking. I've also heard that barracuda are very tasty when grilled,
which somewhat makes them seems a bit less dangerous. Too Bad.
Moray Eels: Basically take everything I said about
barracuda up to the tasty part, and apply it to morays. They aren't as
aggressive as barracudas, and probably won't attack you unless you happen
to intrude on their territory, typically on coral reefs. So don't go antagonizing
them if you happen to scuba dive near reefs, okay? That might be Bad.
Sea Bass: I know what you're thinking. Sea bass aren't
dangerous, unless maybe they are very ill-tempered and have frickin' laser
beams on their frickin' heads. Well, as it turns out, sea bass are large
enough and aggressive enough to take a hefty chunk out of you. Now I've
never heard of anyone dying, or even losing a leg in a sea bass attack
(or for that matter ever being involved in a sea bass attack), but that
doesn't mean it couldn't happen. And wouldn't that make a great story
to tell the grandchildren: "Yup, I lost my leg to an ill-tempered
sea bass. It was a mean and Ugly fish."
Piranhas: Some people think that God doesn't have
a sense of humour. I disagree, and there's no better evidence than the
piranha. Can you think of any good reason to create fish that rarely grows
to much more than a foot long, lives only in a few locales in Brazil,
yet a group of them can skeletonize a cow in minutes (personally I think
skeletonize is a word used not nearly enough in everyday conversation,
but I digress). From what I've read piranhas tend to travel in schools
of fish all the same size, so any one could potentially kill any other.
Piranhas are often found with bites on their fins from other piranhas.
This level of aggression is only found elsewhere in grad students, so
these are some messed up little fish. Of course, when you're a predator,
violent aggression is a Good thing.