Swimming in the salty waters of oceans and seas, parasailing, surfing and diving are always excellent pastime activities. However, in addition to the extraordinary experience they provide for enthusiasts, the saltwater also accommodates numerous dangerous creatures, some of which can even prove fatal for humans. While not all of them will attack you unprovoked and this guide does not mean to spoil the thrill of the vacation you were planning in a tropical location, some sea creatures are best avoided. Here’s a quick list of the deadliest ones you can encounter.
1. The Stonefish, the camouflaged assassin
This particular sea creature is currently considered to wield the most potent poison in the world. However, it would probably be less dangerous for humans – especially because it is not known for its aggressive behavior – if it weren’t for its incredible camouflage capabilities. The poisonous spikes (all 13 of them) are located on the back of the Stonefish, which means that you can easily step on them by mistake. At the same time, since the rocks on the bottoms of the seas and coral reefs constitute their favorite habitat, people are even more prone to accidental poisoning that causes paralysis, muscle atrophy and even death, not to mention the excruciatingly painful sensation.
2. Lionfish, the lance wielding menace
There are numerous varieties of the Scorpaenidae fish species and they can be found in virtually all seas and oceans around the world, in one form or another. The Lionfish is frequently encountered in the Pacific and Indian oceans and it is equipped with highly poisonous lance-like spines. While their sting rarely proves fatal for a human, the effects are definitely unpleasant and include vomiting, nausea, headache and severe pains.
3. Sea urchins, the hedgehogs of saltwater masses
The sea urchin is essentially a large collection of extremely sharp spines that you should steer clear of. The flower sea urchin is highly venomous in spite of his flower-like appearance and numerous death cases as the result of its poison have been recorded. However, even getting stung by the non-venomous varieties is dangerous, because the needles can break inside the skin/tissue and will necessitate a surgical intervention.
4. Catfish have nothing to do with cuddliness
Other than the funny whiskers, catfish have nothing to do with your cute house animal. Well, not if you don’t count the claws which, for the catfish, come in the form of poisonous barbed spines. Few deaths resulting from catfish poisoning have been recorded so far, but a noteworthy fact is that their powerful venom stays active in the victim for the next few days. This entails that you can contract the poison from eating other fish that have been stung, even when the meat has been refrigerated properly.
5. Box Jellyfish, the toxic mini-octopuses
It may be difficult to believe that a primitive form of life like the box jellyfish can secrete such a powerful toxin, but you can definitely take them as proof for the theory of evolution. Because they did not develop an external armor, their body is highly vulnerable to even the smallest fish. However, their 60 tentacles that come equipped with approximately 5,000 stinging cells and measure up to 5m for an adult box jellyfish constitute a powerful protection mechanism. Their presence in the vicinity of beaches as well as their translucent body are the two factors that really make these sea creatures dangerous for humans.