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Carnivorous Fish

Moray Eel

by Marko Peric

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.

Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear. . .



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