Do fish attack humans? Do fish bite humans?

Fishes circling around your aquarium seem harmless, but do you ever wonder if they would ever attack you upon getting a chance?

Do fish attack humans? Do they bite? Should I be worried? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but a fish does attack humans. They also have sharp teeth to bite you and me. There is good news too; you wouldn’t have to worry about getting bitten because this article will give you all the necessary tips to stay safe.

Who bites? How can you be safe as a fisher? To learn more about the seemingly docile fish that attack, read ahead.

Are fish aggressive? Do they attack you? Do they bite?

It’s not a surprise that a fish can attack. They have a history of temperament issues. Some fish can get quite aggressive, depending on their territory, gender, and sexual orientation. Sometimes, keeping aggressive fish together could lead to the death of one. If a fish isn’t naturally aggressive, the circumstances around them can result in aggressive behavior.

Caution is advised for readers that are frightened of the movie, Piranha. It’s true; fish do attack. Some of them are even capable of killing you. How do they attack you? Normally, a fish could either attack you with poison or a simple bite. This leads to our next question, can an angry fish bite you? Yes, a fish can bite you. Until these recent reports began to pop up around the world, we didn’t know that some fish may go out of their way to bite humans.

In conclusion, I hope you have your answers; a fish can attack you, and it can also, at times, bite. What to do if a fish bites? First and foremost, you need to identify the type of fish that bit you, when did it happen, and is it a bite, scratch, scrape, etc. I would strongly suggest getting it checked by a medical professional because fish bites can be poisonous. Or, an open wound in the water could get infected by ocean bacteria, which could develop a dangerous infection.

The Most Dangerous Fishes In The World

Let’s get started; to identify the fish that bit you, allow me to introduce you to the killer fish that live in the deep dark blue water. Some of these guys made it to National Geographic’s most dangerous animals’ list. If someone has the potential to attack you, it’s these guys. In this section, you can learn all about the most dangerous fishes.

1. Candiru

From the looks of it, a Candiru is an innocent little fish. Don’t make that mistake; don’t judge a book by its cover. A Candiru is renowned for snacking on a person’s genitals. Who is a Candiru? These little guys tend to target a larger fish. They aim for their gills and feast on them. How is this related to you? Rumor has it that when you decide to take a leak in the water unsuspectingly, the Candiru fish detects it as the gills. It attacks your genitals, which can cause excruciating pain. It doesn’t get better because the only way to get rid of the Candiru fish is… amputation.

2. Electric eel

The infamous electric eel! You probably know about it already, but there is more to the electric eel than you know. The fact of the matter is, this squirmy little guy can kill you. Yes, you read that right, it can kill you! There are a few instances when a couple of electric shocks have led to death. An electric eel isn’t actually an eel; it is classified as a fish. It is the cousin of a catfish (we’ll learn more about this guy ahead). If you somehow survive the electric shock, it has sharp teeth to finish the job.

3. Electric ray

Another fellow electric marine is the electric ray. It has the ability to shock a human down to the ground, but unlike the deadly electric eel, it can’t kill you. However, people with medical issues, such as heart problems, could possibly die from an electric ray’s shock. Though electric rays are considered to be of little threat, I would consider taking precautions because they happen to be relatives of sharks. They frequently eat small sharks and eels. It may not be as dangerous as the electric eel, but I wouldn’t take the threat of an electric ray lightly.

4. Great Barracuda

The Tiger of the Sea, the great barracuda, is a frightening predator. It sneaks up on its prey, and if you see them on your tail, it’s like swimming from a shark in Jaws. To make matters worse, the barracuda grows up to match the size of a shark. You might stumble into them in the coral reefs because they like to eat reef fishes. If it manages to bite your arm, you could expect a nasty laceration and some loss of tissue. To stay safe, just don’t provoke the barracuda. People believe that barracudas wouldn’t attack you unless they mistake you for fish or if you mess with them.

5. Lionfish

Lionfish is a hunter, armed with venom on its sharp fins. It is said that a lionfish can kill their prey with a single bite. When a lionfish manages to bite you, it may also leave some venom behind. Lucky for you, this venom isn’t deadly. However, you will feel immense pain and swelling in the area. It could take days, even weeks, to feel free of the pain. If you don’t treat the bite, it could turn into blisters or an infection. Worst case scenario, the venom could lead to paralysis and respiratory problems.

6. Piranha

The name itself sends shivers down your spine. Are piranhas dangerous enough to kill you? Nope. It’s not a bloodbath like the movies. Albeit, even though a piranha can’t kill you, it can still hurt you. A Piranha can leave a painful nip on your hands and feet. I can’t say the same for the fish. Apparently, piranhas pose such danger to fish that if you dump some of them in a river or lake, the local fish population is expected to plummet. In some countries, you aren’t allowed to bring piranhas because of the threat it poses to local marine life.

7. Pufferfish

Do you remember Bloat from Finding Nemo? Yeah, that pufferfish (also known as bloat fish) is not as cute in real life. A pufferfish is a delicacy known as fugu; you can eat it in Japan. There are skilled chefs in the kitchen that prepare this deadly dish. If they made one minor mistake, the pufferfish dish could kill you. The pufferfish have a poison that is 1200 times more dangerous than cyanide. To give you a better idea, let me put it this way, one pufferfish has enough poison to kill 30 people. Still not convinced, well guess what? There is no antidote for this pufferfish either.

8. Stonefish

If you think pufferfish is the most poisonous fish in the ocean, think again. Stonefish is the most venomous fish in the deep blue waters. It is found in coastal areas, where it easily camouflages itself with the reef. When a prey appears, a stonefish will take 0.015 seconds to kill it. Note that it doesn’t even use its 13 spines, where the venom is stored. You aren’t in danger as long as the stonefish doesn’t feel threatened. If it feels under attack, the stonefish will release the poison to defend itself. The venom can lead to heart attack, severe pain, and death.

Fun fact: A Stonefish can survive for 24 hours out of water.

9. Snakehead

Like the vicious piranhas, the snakehead is capable of posing a real threat to the local fish population. Not so long ago, they found their way to Georgia, and the anglers were told to kill any snakeheads they come across. They went so far as to poison the waters to kill them. To make matters worse, the snakehead can also survive on land. You may not have anything to worry about. Reports suggest that snakeheads don’t usually attack humans. If you’re in Southasia and spot a snakehead, I would make a run for it. The south Asian snakeheads are known to attack humans that got too close to their nest.

10. Vampire fish

The vampire fish has two long fangs stretching out of its lower jaw. This is where it gets the name, vampire fish. Normally, the vampire fish is known as parayas. It is also known by other nicknames like saber-toothed fish or the water wolf. This hunter would scare off larger fish just to keep the local fishes as food for themselves. If you ever put it in an aquarium with another fish, there are higher chances that it will murder the guest fish. Like most animals and dangerous fish, the paraya won’t attack you unless you mess with it first.

11. Catfish

A catfish is normally harmless, but some of them which could infect you with poison. Oftentimes, the poison isn’t dangerous or anything. However, on some occasions, there is a chance that a catfish could inject you with poison that can possibly kill you. You gotta understand, there are different types of catfishes, with different characteristics. For instance, there are some Wel Catfish out there that are nearly 5 to 7 feet long with numerous small sharp teeth. If you get bit by a poisonous catfish, you will experience severe pain, muscle spasms, reduced blood flow, and respiratory distress.

A Safety Guide for Fishermen Dealing with Vicious Fish

Most fish in the sea don’t pose any danger unless they feel threatened by you. This brings us to fishermen and the dangerous fishes they encounter. In this section of the article, I want to talk about the dangerous fish you might come into contact with as a fisher. And, you can learn some tips and tricks on how to catch these infamous fishes.

1. Amazon catfish

Remember, when I mentioned different types of catfish? This is one of those – the amazon catfish. You can find it in the Corentyne River. The weight of this beast of a fish is described as a reeling a submarine. A fish caught by Larry Dahlberg weighed a massive 400 pounds. To catch the fish, it is recommended that you use a 130-pound suffix line, Shimano torsa reel, and high-power trevally jigging rod. Be cautious, because the amazon catfish has the strength to pull you out of the boat easily. You should bring along a couple more fishers to be on the safe side.

2. Barracuda

If you’re a car buff, I could bet you’ve heard the name before, but it’s just not the same Barracuda. This Barracuda is the nightmare of every fisherman. For starts, they are large in size (roughly 5 feet), and they weigh up to 50 pounds. Remember, this is the actual weight, unlike the Amazon Catfish. It may feel like 400 pounds when it has an average weight of 20 pounds. In addition to the size and weight, a Barracuda can cut through the wire without breaking a sweat. To catch them, you need to rely on the trusty bait and lures.

Bonus Tip: You need to be as quick and agile as the Barracuda.

3. Bluefin Tuna

The most expensive fish in the ocean, the Bluefin Tuna, also happens to be one of the most difficult fish to catch. Forget the Barracuda and the Amazon Catfish; this guy literally weighs on an average 500 pounds. In addition to which, it is nearly 8 feet long on average. Before you head out to catch them, you should know that a permit is usually required to catch the Bluefin Tuna. Some other tips that you need to keep in mind are; they are found near the surface offshore. Use fresh baits like herring, mackerel, or squid.

4. Bluefish

The Bluefish put up a fight like any drunken sailor in a bar. You should expect a couple of bites and nips if you ever try to catch it. The dangerous bit is that a Bluefish has a really good vision for a fish. Why should that be your concern? It has that good vision out of the water too. Meaning, a Bluefish can easily spot its target and attack. If you don’t handle it with care, a Bluefish can bite off your finger with ease. The best time to catch a Bluefish is during summers around day time, which is when it is more likely to be near the surface.

5. California Lingcod

Lingcod is often as delectable as salmon, crabs, shrimps, and others. Don’t let the name deceive you; a Lingcod is not a cod. And, despite the fact it’s delectable, from appearance, a Lingcod is similar to every other predator in the deep blue sea. It has terrifying sharp teeth and aggressive behavior. When you plan to catch a Lingcod, I would recommend practicing to catch Rockfishes. Most fishermen agree that the chances to catch a Lingcod are greater when you fish for Rockfishes. When you pick one out of the water, more often than not, there’d be a Lingcod clung to it.

6. Cobia

The brown torpedos, Cobia, are 7 feet long and 170 pounds in weight. If I had to explain Cobia in one word, I’d say fighter. You’d be surprised by the punches and kicks it pulls when you try to fish it out of the sea. Attracting the Cobia isn’t a problem, but to actually reel them up, you’d need to fight them at that moment. It is a battle of wits. There is no one technique that helps you catch it. No, you can throw the rule book out because this challenge requires the presence of mind and tact.

7. Jack Crevalle

The Jack Crevalle is made to put your fishing skills to the test. You will need to come prepared and pull up a few weights to make sure your strength is in the game. A Jack Crevalle will get your bait, that is not going to be a problem. However, reeling it up is another conversation. It will do anything and everything in its power to take that bait down, even if it means dragging the boat to the bottom of the ocean. If you do manage to catch it, don’t eat it. There is a chance that Jack Crevalle has ciguatoxin, a poison that doesn’t harm fishes, but poses a great danger to you and me.

8. Giant Trevally

Simply nicknamed GT, the Giant Trevally is a tough son of a gun. It has a large build (imagine the mountain from a game of thrones but for fishes) and a strong will to survive. Combined, it could be a force of nature. It may appear intimidating, but you won’t have to worry about a giant fish attacking you. On the other hand, catching it is a different story. The GT has the body weight and size to push through. It has a good reputation as a swimmer. Catching the Giant Trevally is an achievement in itself. People that have managed to catch it suggest the use of mono trace and a rugged spin stick.

9. Grander Marlin

Every fisherman’s white whale, the Grander Marlin (read: large blue/ black marlin), is on a class apart from others. The 1000 pound fish can do serious damage to the boat if you’re not careful. Not many people have caught the Grander Marlin. Let’s put it this way, only one person managed to catch it this entire year. Cameron Thorp, the person who caught it, explains it took five hours of back and forth with the Marlin until the fish lost, presumably, out of exhaustion. Remember to pay attention while trying to fish for a Grander Marlin. If you look away, even for a moment, it could impale you.

10. Muskellunge

A Muskellunge isn’t the Grander Marlin, but it is one of the hardest fish to catch. It has earned the name as the fish of ten thousand casts. A Muskellunge rarely attacks you, but it will make you work hard. It has the tenacity to eat up a fish double its size. To catch a Muskellunge, you need the right equipment. But, everyone can get the equipment, to truly catch this beast, you need to be strategical. The only trick to winning a battle with the Muskellunge is to fight it in close range.

11. Tigerfish

From its name, you’d think that the Tigerfish is a frightening creature, like its counterpart on land. In truth, most Tigerfish aren’t dangerous to humans. Tigerfish in Africa is a different story. The Tigerfish are the only African freshwater fish known to pose any danger to humans. Why? For obvious reasons like the numerous reports of its attack on humans. A small Tigerfish can swift past a line with its sharp teeth. To catch it, here is a tip; tie up the bait with cotton.

12. Wahoo

The agonizing shrieks that would run a shiver down anyone’s spine on deck. The nightmarish prize for every fisherman – Wahoo. It is said to have the capability of tearing you into shreds. Before you claim I’m exaggerating, you should know that a Wahoo is known to cause the most serious injuries once it’s brought aboard. Even catching it is considered a risky sport. The thing is… a Wahoo has razor-sharp teeth, and it bites like a woodpecker. It is quick and painful, slicing its way to the bone with a handful of snaps.

13. Wolfish

With two sharp teeth sticking out of its face, and with a look glaring at you like it is going to bite your face off. Despite these characteristics, the Wolfish isn’t known to attack humans. Unless you mess with the fish first, at that point, you should expect it to bite back. Once it bites back, it will cling to your skin. If you are looking for a real challenge, look no further. The Wolfish will put your skills to the test with its strong grip and spinning jumps. Your best chance at catching a Wolfish is to use a bass rod, heavy baits, and a braided line.

The Deadliest Waters

I’ve talked about the nastiest fishes in freshwater and oceans, but the question arises, where do you go to find them? Or, for some others, where do you not go? To answer your questions, I’ve listed down the most dangerous waters in the world, whether it is related to fishes or not. Let’s s dig into it.

1. Boiling Lake

In the valley of desolation lies the Boiling Lake. To reach it, you need to cross sulfurous springs and a pool of hot water. The lakes hiss and bubble – it’s like something straight out of hell. You can find the Boiling Lake in Dominica. It earns the name of Boiling Lake due to the hot temperature. On some occasions, you can swim in the Boiling Lake. I would advise against swimming in the Boiling Lake because it is 200 feet deep.

2. Snake River

The title will make you wonder what type of nightmares would take place in the Snake River, which is located in the Hells Canyon. As the name suggests, the Snake River is full of a wide variety of snakes. In addition, to which, the Hells Canyon has unsafe or dangerous conditions. This doesn’t stop people from getting on a raft to go downstream or get on a jet boat to head upstream. Fortunately, none of the people on the raft or a jet boat are inexperienced.

3. Jacobs Well

In the warm state of Texas, the Jacob Wells offers Texans cool and clean water. It is over a hundred feet deep, and it puts people at risk. Daredevils from around Texas are brought to the Jacobs Well. Four caves are situated under the Jacobs Well. You can explore them and find the underwater wonders. Although it is dangerous, you can swim with caution and cool down under hot weather.

4. Lake Natron

The water in Lake Natron turns birds into stones. Found in Tanzania, Lake Natron is a dangerous red soda lake. The alkaline level in this lake is very high due to the excessive amount of natron. Consequently, the high alkaline levels can turn animals into stone. The color red comes from the insurmountable amount of bacteria.

5. White River

The White River is a tributary to the Wabash River. The Wabash River roughly translates to shining white, which is where we get the name White River. Why is it so dangerous? The threat of toxins and dangerous bacteria can cause medical problems. Additionally, the White River has fast-flowing water that can be dangerous to people.

6. Rio Tinto

The Spanish river in Andalusia, Rio Tinto, is also known as the red river. In this red river, you’d find toxic chemicals left behind by a metal mining company. This gets worse with the acid rain. Keeping these frightening aspects aside, the Rio Tinto is a rather mystifying river. The water runs bright red with a distinct orange color, which makes it a sight to behold. So, you can visit the Rio Tinto for sightseeing, just refrain from swimming in this toxic water.

7. Horseshoe Lake

The Horseshoe Lake is located in Washington, where most people come out for a trip to Mother Nature. They would hike, camp, boat, and so much more. All of this seems kind of nice, so why is it here in the list of dangerous waters? Well, this is the Horseshoe Lake, located in Washington. Its dangerous counterpart is situated near Mammoth Mountain, which is near a volcano that made the air toxic to breathe. The air in Horseshoe Lake is full of carbon dioxide. You’d notice a bunch of dead trees on the flank of the lake; they died from the toxic air.

8. Drake Passage

Also known as Mar de Hoces, the Drake Passage is the southern side bridge between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. To reach the great white Antarctica, you’ll have to get through these rough waters. The weather conditions are described to be nefarious; people with seasickness are advised to brace themselves. The ship hurls, rolls, and tumbles through the fierce water. Some describe it as a once in a lifetime adventure to reach one of the most peaceful places on Earth. If you’re an explorer, packed for a thrilling trip, this should be on your list of places to visit.

9. Lake Champlain

Found in North America, Lake Champlain is the home to 81 fish species. You can find fishes ranging from trout to catfish, and more. It is considered dangerous because swimming in it puts you at the risk of catching a dangerous bacteria. The green-blue bacteria are commonly found in the lake. In addition to this, you are also putting yourself at risk of catching pathogens and toxins.

Fun fact: Native Americans believe legendary creatures, the Abenaki and the Iroquois, live in the Lake Champlain.

10. Lake Nyos

Situated near the Oku volcanic plain, the infamous Lake Nyos took over 1700 lives. Lakes near volcanoes often have gases trapped underwater. One day, all that gas builds up and explodes in the form of a mini-tsunami or a cloud of carbon dioxide. A large amount of gas was building up inside Lake Nyos until it finally exploded in a cloud of carbon dioxide. The cloud spread and took the lives of 1700 innocent people while they slept. The lake is still considered dangerous because its wall is said to be weakening. If the water breaks through, it will run all the way down to Nigeria along with the deadly carbon dioxide.

11. Columbia Bar

It is also known as Columbia River Bar, which is located in Oregon and Washington. The high tides and stormy weather make a perfect cocktail mix for a terrifying trip to the sea, and the Columbia River Bar is stuck with such conditions. It is famously known amongst sailors as the graveyard of the pacific. It earns that name through the reputation it has built over the years. Getting across the Columbia Bar is considered an impossible task. Experienced fishermen explain that making a single mistake while sailing through the Columbia River Bar can be devastating.

12. The Dead Sea

I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard of the renowned Dead Sea – the place where you can float on water. Does that ring a bell? I hope so. This salt lake is located in Jordan Rift Valley, which runs between Jordan and Israel. You might know about the floating bit, but did you know why it is actually called the Dead Sea? It is because the lake is made with saltwater, there is 10 times more salt here compared to the ocean. It might be difficult to set foot to the bottom of the water, but if you turn over and head down, it is impossible for anyone to rescue you. To make matters worse, the excessive amount of salt can be harmful to your heart and kidney.

13. Lake Kivu

Found in mother Africa, Lake Kivu is one of the Africa Great lakes. It is considered dangerous because of the large amount of methane gas stuck inside. In case you didn’t know, methane is a flammable gas that makes it extremely dangerous around fire. You aren’t necessarily in danger if you go for a swim in Lake Kivu. But, the thing is, the methane gas has been piling up 80 meters down the lake, and experts believe it could just erupt.

14. Lake Michigan

Great lakes are dangerous, but Lake Michigan is the most dangerous one of all. Experts believe that the lake is considered vicious because of its shape and size. The rip currents are more deadly along the longshore. If you decide to go for a swim during the rip currents, you could potentially die. The great lakes have insane storms that could stir chaos. On average, 6 people die in Lake Michigan every year. The large and vicious waves can carry an individual to deeper waters, where chances of survival get slimmer.

15. Great Blue Hole

A diver’s Mount Everest is the Great Blue Hole. The Great Blue Hole isn’t actually dangerous, but it does lead to something horrible. Divers have dived and died in the blue hole; it is the ultimate challenge for any diver. If you ever find yourself there, look around, and you’ll find a frightening number of memorial stones. From the appearance, you would think that the Great Blue Hole is a peaceful place. As a result of which, most divers are less vigilant, which leads to their death.

Here is how you can avoid sharks

How can I talk about fishes that attack and not mention sharks? It’s simple, I can’t. The notorious killer that lives in the water. If you’ve ever seen the crime scene left behind, it is similar to a scene out of Quentin Tarantino’s third act. If you know, you know. The gist of it is, coming face to face with a shark isn’t fun, and we’d all like to avoid it.

How do you avoid sharks? Good question. To avoid sharks, you need a couple of things in mind. For starters, swim close to the shore because the shark is less likely to attack there. If you go into the deeper side, don’t go alone. Being with other people increases your chances of survival. Don’t wear anything shiny; a shark or any other predator is attracted to objects of which light reflects. For the same reasons, I would urge you to wear darker clothes as opposed to something bright.

If you keep these tips in mind, there is a good chance you won’t have to come face to face with a shark. Statistically, you are not going to find yourself in a situation where the shark tries to kill you. Remember, Jaws is just a movie, you don’t have to worry about a shark killing you on a good sunny day at the beach.

The Case of Fish Bites

Fish bites are quite common when you go swimming or snorkeling. If a fish does take a bite, it only does it because you have provoked. It is possible that you did it unintentionally, but either way, the fish got provoked, and you got bit for that.

What to do if a fish bites you? You could rub an antiseptic on the bite mark. The fish bite isn’t dangerous but like any other wound, it leaves you vulnerable to infection. If you ask me what’s worse between a fish bite and an infection, I would pick the infection every time.

Fish with sharper teeth and aggressive behavior pose more danger. It could leave a nasty bite that won’t be fixed with antiseptic alone. In case you get bit by something worse, I can think of one solution – visit the doctor.

Related Questions

What is the most dangerous fish?

The world is full of many dangerous things, but in regards to fish, you will find the following 10 dangerous creatures in the ocean;

  1. Barracuda
  2. Catfish
  3. Candiru
  4. Electric Ray
  5. Grander Martin
  6. Lion fish
  7. Piranha
  8. Puffer fish
  9. Snakeheads
  10. Wahoo

Do fish attack humans?

Yes, fish attack humans. These attacks are rare, but they occur nonetheless. Fish that attack are a predatory marine life. It often attacks humans out of desperation or confusion (attacking people that are wearing something shiny, which is seen as prey). Often, fish don’t attack humans until you provoke it in some way.

Are titan triggerfish dangerous?

Triggerfish are found in the lagoon, and it is known for attacking people that take a dip in the water. Most snorkelers and divers are victims of triggerfish bites. Why do they attack you? It is mainly because you might have breached their home. When it comes to home invasion, the triggerfish is just as aggressive as Kevin from Home Alone.

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