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Friday, October 9, 2009

The Most Dangerous Creatures of the Sea

[Extracted from Hotel Club Travel Blog]

As quiet as the sea may seem, you should keep in mind the dangers lurking beneath the surface. Here’s a look at the deadliest creatures living in the water.



Lionfish

Members of the Scorpaenidae fish family, the Lionfish are native to the Indian and Pacific oceans but various species can be found all over the world. Also known as the Turkey Fish or Dragon Fish, it has long poisonous spines that are deadly to many marine creatures. The Lionfish sting is not usually deadly to humans but it will cause severe pain, headaches and vomiting.

Lionfish don’t attack people unless provoked, but in case you get stung you should immediately soak the area in hot water and seek medical help.



Stonefish

The Stonefish is a master of camouflage, which makes it even more dangerous, as people often get to close without realizing it. They can be found on the sea bottom and around coral reefs, disguised as rocks. The Stonefish is the most poisonous fish in the world. It has 13 spikes on its back, all filled with extremely potent, protein-based venom. Depending on how deep the sting is, this venom can kill a person in a few hours unless he receives medical attention.

Getting stung by a Stonefish causes excruciating pain, shock and paralysis. Surviving victims of Stonefish encounters have been known to suffer nerve damage which leads to muscle atrophy.



Sea Urchins

No one in his right mind would get close to anything as spiny as a sea urchin, but walking in the water makes it easier for people to step on them. Sea Urchins have long sharp spines that penetrate very deep and sometimes break, causing severe pain and infection. In most sting cases, the spines have to be removed surgically.

Not all Sea Urchins are venomous but one of the most dangerous, the Flower urchins can be deadly. It looks like its body is covered by flowers instead of thorns, but they are in fact venomous and can cause paralysis or, even worse, death. There have been several reports of people killed by Flower Urchins around Japan.



Catfish

They may look innocent and peaceful with their cute little whiskers, but Catfish are dangerous creatures if provoked. When it feels threatened, the Catfish pulls out three barbed spines from its back and side fins. They are venomous and cause severe pain. Although rare, throughout the years there have been cases when catfish attacks proved deadly.

Catfish venom remains active for several days after the fish dies so even refrigerated ones must be handled with care.



Box Jellyfish

Often referred to as the Box of Death, the Box Jellyfish is indeed one of the deadliest sea-creatures on earth. It has up to 60 tentacles which can be even 5 meters long and have 5,000 million stinging cells. It’s enough for a full grown adult to come in contact with just 3 tentacles to risk death. Box Jellyfish are very fragile organisms, even a small fish could tear through it like butter, so it needs to kill aggressors and its food at first contact.

Box Jellyfish are so dangerous because they frequent a number of very popular beaches and because of their translucent bodies they are extremely hard to spot.



Sharks

Just like crocodiles, sharks are perfect killers in the water, just seeing them on television makes everyone’s heart beat a little faster. But, contrary to popular belief, sharks don’t usually attack unless provoked, most species don’t attack humans at all.

The best way to avoid a shark attack is to stay away from shallow waters where sharks are known to be feeding in, that’s the most common mistake people make, they ignore warnings and end up having their limbs bitten off or even worse.



Stingrays

Not many people really knew how dangerous stingrays really were until the terrible accident in which Steve Irwin lost his life. The truth is stingrays kill a lot more people than sharks for example. They are not aggressive creatures and when attacked, most of the time they just flee, but when stepped on, stingrays whip their tail stinger.

A way to avoid getting pierced by this dangerous weapon is to slide your feet through the sand instead of actually stepping, this way the stingray detects you and runs away.

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