With their sharp teeth and impressive size, barracuda are among the most feared fish in the sea. Some species, such as the great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda), can grow up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) in length, which is bigger than some sharks! But are these slender, sentient steak knives really as dangerous as they seem? Let’s take a deep dive into their lives and find out!
There are 29 species of barracuda, and they all look fairly similar. They have snake-like bodies, toothy jaws, and big eyes. With all of these features combined, they are formidable predators. Their long, slender bodies give them a low profile, especially when viewed head-on, and their keen eyesight allows them to notice every unusual color, reflection, or movement. When they spot prey, they use their torpedo shaped form to launch themselves at their target at speeds of up to 43 km per hour (27 miles per hour) and attack with their toothy jaws.
Because barracuda primarily hunt by sight, they are reportedly attracted to shiny objects and may attack someone wearing jewelry or a watch. But reports of such attacks are rare and often unfounded. In many cases, barracuda attacks are the result of a spearfisherman defending their catch from a hungry barracuda, not from swimmers wearing flashy accessories.
From personal experience, I can say that barracuda are not dangerous. I have hundreds of dives under my belt, and I’ve encountered barracuda on a huge chunk of those dives. I’ve been surrounded by shoals of barracuda in the water column, and I’ve observed solitary barracuda at a very close distance. I have several shiny objects on my underwater camera rig, but not one barracuda has attempted to bite or attack me. So, if you’re snorkeling or diving and see a barracuda, you don’t need to be afraid.
That said, this doesn’t mean you can grab a barracuda and give it a hug. It just means that you aren’t in danger if a barracuda is around. (Unless you’re a fish.) Also, to play it safe, don’t wave any shiny objects around one or tempt it with struggling or dead fish. That’s a good practice when dealing with any marine predator, barracuda or not.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, please give it a like, leave a comment down below, and follow Tidewater Teddy! Have a great day!