Are They Really Dangerous To Humans?
On a recent trip to Grand Bahama Island I saw all types of gnarly looking tropical fish.
Each day I saw something new, and each day I became more and more mesmerized by all of the wonderful and beautiful fish that frequented the waters in such an abundance.
However I accidentally stumbled upon the most incredible sight I had ever seen.
I was not expecting to see one at all, but the way I spotted him scared me stuff.
I was about 20 feet out from shore, and the water depth was no more than 5 feet deep. Mostly the only fish I saw in waters this far out would be an occasional parrot fish, sting ray, or swarms of adorable groups of puffer fish, and dog fish.
As I was drifting along the surface, and looking around, I failed to notice that a Barracuda about 2 or 3 feet long was right smack below me. I was literately no less than 3 feet away from him.
I saw that his mouth was open, and small fish were racing past him cleaning his teeth off. I never knew Barracuda came in for a cleansing of their teeth, but here it was. A friggin Barracuda, and it freaked me out!
What freaked me out was not only the fact that he stood so perfectly still, so much so, I managed to drift right up over him without even noticing; but what also scared me was the fact that although attacks on humans were rare...they still have occurred before, and attacks are not uncommon.
In fact, some countries in the world consider the Barracuda more dangerous than sharks!
What really worried me though was my bracelet. A shiny silver bracelet lined with a row of shiny white gems. I'm sure to him, my bracelet looked like food, and I should of known better and taken it off before getting into the water, because as anyone knows, most fish are attracted to shiny objects, and my bracelet, lets just say it could have cost me a few stitches had the Barracuda decided to 'eat it'. Or worse... a missing hand, or a few fingers gone.
My firs tip to those who may stumble upon a Barracuda in the water would be to hide your shiny jewelry if you are wearing it in the water. Cover it with your other hand, to keep the flashing shine from catching the fishes eye!
Better yet though, avoid wearing any jewelry at all when swimming in tropical waters. However if you are like me, and you find that you have forgotten to remove the jewelry...hide it from sight.
Mostly though Barracuda are not very dangerous to humans, and they rarely ever attack. In fact The Great Barracuda is the only species of Barracuda that have ever attacked humans, and statistics say only 19 attacks have ever been reported in close to the past 100 years. The spectacular Barracuda I drifted over barely even seemed to care I was there. It freaked me out that the fish didn't care I was there, but like I said, it didn't seem to mind at all. Nonetheless though, I backed off slowly and snapped some photos of him.
Swimming away like a maniac will only provoke the Barracuda, so back off slowly!
Anyhow, he didn't seem to mind that my underwater flashes were targeting him. I did though take caution when snapping the pictures. I stood far away, and simply zoomed my camrea in on him.
Another caution would be to steer clear of murky waters in areas you are unfamiliar with. Barracuda at times will attack anything they see in murky waters, and if you happen to be there, you could be the unlucky target.
At any rate though, seeing this spectacular predator in the water, as stiff as a board was by far the most awesome sight I saw while vacationing. It had a mysterious power to it, and was the only fish I saw that seemed to sit so still that it looked frozen. Like a hummingbird, it was quite a beautiful, yet mysterious sight to see.
farsidefan1 on February 19, 2014:
barracuda often follow divers, shadowing them. I was kind of creeped out when I first began diving but after having one of the "followers" flash past me to grab a small reef fish I realized that they are using the diver to hide behind to approach their prey. Then with a blinding burst they grab some lunch and drop back to hiding again. Had it happen on a few occasions.
Nikki on June 02, 2013:
You see, my problem with the barracuda is that every time I encounter them.....they tail me. They are so innately curious! I live on a sailboat, so I'm in the water a lot. We're in the West Indies at the moment. And when I'm cleaning the bottom, I usually will know if they're coming when all of my little fish friends swim away....and then I see the barracuda swimming up to the boat. Which is fine until he's following me closely and I can count the razor blades in his mouth! I usually end up getting out of the water. Those big eyes and teeth just make me shiver a bit.