Scuba diving is a wonderful way to evade the hustle and bustle of daily life. There is something about being underwater and surrounded by sea life that helps divers find their center and experience a sense of tranquility that helps their souls heal.
While there are many benefits connected to diving, experienced divers know that there is also an element of risk. Experienced divers know that while many of the animals that call the ocean home are beautiful, many are also deadly. A single bite or sting from one of these ocean creatures can put a diver’s life in danger.
Many people don’t realize that the stonefish is one of the most deadly animals a diver could encounter. The good news is that stonefish aren’t aggressive. They don’t even pursue the reef fish they consume.
The problem with stonefish is that they are camouflage masters. They blend in so perfectly with the seabed and are so still, both fish and human divers often mistake them for a simple rock. If the diver inadvertently steps on the stonefish, the fish’s needle-sharp spine instantly injects a highly toxic venom into the diver. The diver will immediately experience extreme pain. The venom presents two dangers. The first is that it’s strong enough to potentially kill the diver. The second is that the diver may be in so much pain, they’re unable to swim to the surface and get help. With treatment, it can take 24-48 hours to recover from an encounter with a stonefish.
While the stonefish is native to the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, it has been found in the Caribbean and popular Florida dive sites.
Moray eels are dangerous, though not quite as deadly as some people assume. Moray eels aren’t aggressive and will usually ignore divers. Most moray eel attacks are the result of divers inserting their hands into holes and crevices that the eels are using as dens.
Lionfish are gorgeous, but divers should give them a wide berth. The very spines that inspired their names are potentially deadly to divers. The spines are full of venom which can cause extreme pain if it enters the diver’s bloodstream. While it’s unlikely that the venom will kill a diver, the pain they experience could make it difficult for them to reach the surface. The venom is a protein-based neuromuscular toxin that inhibits the body’s nerves, brain, and muscle’s ability to communicate.
These are just three of the animals divers should be cautious of while they explore reefs and shipwrecks.