The most Dangerous Creatures in the Ocean is a post filled with facts and pictures about fifteen of the scariest creatures in the oceans today. Most of them you will never get to see in real life as many of them are very elusive or found only in warm tropical waters, but there are some that you may come across one day, when you are on holiday perhaps.
Everybody has heard about the dangers of sharks, simply because of their size, power and aggressive nature, but there are also some other creatures in the oceans of the world that you may not have heard of before. As you will find out, large and powerful doesn’t always spell danger, and we expect you’ll be surprised to find out that it’s actually some of the smallest creatures in the ocean that happen to be the most dangerous.
01. Great White Shark
Did you know that sharks were around long before the dinosaurs? Over 400 million years of evolution has created the world’s most effective, awesome hunter. Great White Sharks have highly developed senses which include smell, hearing, sight and touch. These senses are so effective that a great white could detect a small drop of blood in an Olympic sized swimming pool simply by using its very sensitive nasal cavity.
They can travel up to 35 miles an hour due to their torpedo shaped body and smooth skin and they are highly inquisitive creatures that are known to travel great distances.
300 serrated teeth fill their mouth at any one time and thousands of teeth are produced throughout their lifetime. If a tooth is damaged a new one moves into its place within a few days. Their jaws have a very unique feature which enables them to detach the upper part from their skull to get a better grip on their prey.
Although they look nothing more than mean killing machines, they are actually very intelligent creatures and can often be seen working together in groups when hunting.
They do attack humans too, but it is widely thought that this is often due to mistaken identity, they would much rather prefer a seal or a turtle for their lunch than you or I.
02. Tiger Shark
The Tiger Shark is the second most dangerous shark in the world, a very aggressive creature that is responsible for many attacks on humans each year.
They are very successful hunters but also known to be scavengers too. Similar to the Great White they have highly developed senses, large serrated teeth and very strong jaws which are powerful enough to crack open the shell of a turtle, which is one of their favorite foods. Other creatures on the Tiger Shark’s menu are sting rays, birds, sea snakes and squid. There is virtually nothing that a Tiger Shark wouldn’t eat, and they are known as the waste baskets of the sea by some people.
They live in tropical waters and can grow as large as 25 feet, that’s 7.5 meters long. They can live up to 50 years. They get their name from the tiger like stripes that run along the length of their bodies, although these tend to disappear as the shark gets older.
They are often found in shallow waters which makes contact with humans inevitable. They are solitary creatures and mostly hunt at night.
A Tiger Shark can give birth to up to 80 babies (called pups) and as soon as they are born they will have to fend for themselves. The mothers have no maternal bond with any of their offspring.
03. Bull Shark
The Bull Shark is a very formidable, powerful predator which enjoys a reputation as being one of the most feared sharks in the ocean. One of the main reasons they are considered to be the most dangerous sharks in the world is simply due to the fact that they like to inhabit highly populated shorelines where contact with humans is inevitable and frequent. Bull Sharks can be found in most of the warm oceans around the world.
Although they prefer to live along shoreline they can also be found in fresh water rivers too. They have short blunt noses and stocky powerful bodies and enjoy nothing more than a good confrontation, when they come across their prey they will often head but them before going in for the kill.
Life expectancy is around 16 years in the wild and they can grow up to a length of around 3.5 meters. They will eat most things they come across which includes other sharks as well as fish and even dolphins. They are a medium sized shark and are very quick, agile hunters with very sharp serrated teeth.
Similar to the Great White, if a tooth is damaged or gets worn down a new one will move into its place. Bull sharks give birth to live young and would give birth to anything from 1 to 13 pups at any one time.
Unfortunately, they are hunted for their meat, hides and oils, although this has, not currently threatened their population, and they are not considered to be an endangered species.
04. Lion Fish
The Lion Fish has stripes on the side of its body which is what gives it its name. They have large venomous spines on the top of their bodies which will inflict very painful puncture wounds. Although not fatal, if you are stung by one you must seek medical attention immediately.
They are medium sized fish, about 30 cm long and will live to be around 15 years old. The females can produce up to 30,000 eggs every few days which accounts for the increasing numbers of Lion Fish in our Oceans.
They live in the south pacific and have no real natural predators, apart from man. They are a very invasive species of fish and eat over 50 other types of fish, some of which are from unsustainable species, which means that some of the fish it eats are declining in numbers because they are eating them faster than new ones are being born.
To catch its prey, it will spread its fins out and herd fish into small confined spaces where they are easier to catch. They will gulp down their prey whole with their huge mouths. It will usually hunt for smaller fish and crustaceans on the sea floor but its venom is also capable of killing much larger creatures. They are mainly nocturnal (night) hunters and can often be found moving in groups.
You might also want to read this: 12 Venomous Animals in Australia
05. Atlantic Torpedo Ray
The Atlantic Torpedo Ray is mostly found living along the coastline in Canada, America, South Africa and the UK, but have also occasionally been seen in open oceans.
It can produce its own electricity which it stores in its own kidney shaped organs, which is very similar to a battery.
They will bury themselves in the sand and only come out at night time when they start to feed. Wien they come across their prey they will use the stored electricity to shock and stun the victim before guiding the food to their mouth which is found on the underside of the body.
They can produce a shock equivalent to around 220 volts which is very dangerous to humans as well as sea creatures. They rarely release such large voltages though and much lower shocks are capable of stunning their victims or careless diver that accidentally stands on one.
The electric shocks will also protect them by warding off predators looking for an easy meal. It can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh upwards of 200 pounds.
06. Sting Ray
There are around 200 species of Sting Ray throughout the world and the majority of them can give you a nasty sting. The largest can grow up to 2 meters in length and live up to 25 years of age. They have a very sharp barbed spike in their tail which is coated with venom. Many Sting Rays produce venom strong enough to kill a human. They are usually very peaceful and graceful creatures and would not generally attack, but they will defend themselves if they feel threatened.
A Stingrays diet consists of fish and other small creatures such as shrimps, clams, mussels, snails and mollusks. Many of them have teeth and strong jaws which enable them to crush the shells quite easily.
They are not very active creatures, but when they do move they will flap their sides like wings and glide around the ocean floor. They are mostly nocturnal, which means they only come out at night. A Sting Ray can detect their prey by using electrical sensors located around its mouth. They are very flat and like to spend time in shallow waters.
People have been killed by Sting Rays, but it is not always due to the venom, although extremely painful, it is not usually fatal, unless you are pieced in the chest or stabbed through a vital organ. Sting Rays remain very dangerous, even when they are dead, and should always be approached with great caution.
07. Box Jellyfish
The very dangerous Box Jellyfish can be found in and around the Australian coastline. It is one of the most dreaded creatures of the oceans and has tentacles which contain extremely dangerous toxins.
If they come into contact with human skin they can cause all sorts of problems including breathing problems, within only 3 minutes of being stung. They are responsible for more deaths in Australia than sharks and crocodiles.
They have box shaped bodies, which is where their name comes from, and tentacles which can stretch up to 80 cm in length. They have about 5000 stinging tentacles and you only need to come into contact with about three tentacles to cause severe problems to your health.
They are very difficult to spot in the ocean, due to their transparent appearance, which is one of the reasons so many people are stung by them each year. The Box Jellyfish weighs around 2 kg. They eat small fish and shrimps as well as plankton and small sea creatures which they catch and stun with their tentacles.
They may be very dangerous and feared by us humans, but if you were a turtle you would enjoy nothing more than a tasty Box Jellyfish meal.
08. Stone Fish
The Stone Fish is the most venomous fish in the world. It has 13 jagged spines running down the length of its back. These venomous spikes are very sharp and can easily piece through the sole of a shoe. They are about 35 cm long, very sluggish and spend most of their time on the bottom of the ocean floor.
If you get stung by a stone fish, you will need to get urgent medical treatment. They have large heads and small eyes and are sometimes referred to as Goblin Fish or Warty Ghoul fish, because, as you can see, they are not the prettiest fish in the ocean.
They are very well camouflaged, among rocks and coral reefs, which is their preferred habitat, and often partially bury themselves in the sand waiting for the next meal to pass by. It would be very unusual for one to attack a human, but they are sometimes stood on by people venturing too far from sandy shores.
If you were unlucky enough to step on one, it would raise up its spikes but keep its body firmly in position on the sea floor in order to give the spikes extra strength. The stone fish will eat most other fish that are smaller than itself as well as shrimps and small crustaceans.
They strike at their prey with incredible speed and swallow their food whole. The attack is so fast the victim wouldn’t know anything about it until it was trapped inside its mouth.
09. Puffer Fish
The Puffer Fish, which is also referred to as the blowfish, has developed an ability to inflate itself, whenever it feels threatened.
As these cute animals are very slow movers, they are vulnerable to being attacked while swimming in open waters. To protect themselves, they will inflate their bodies by ingesting large amounts of seawater into their extremely elastic stomachs, which increases their body mass many times its original size. This ensures it is virtually inedible to most of its predators, because it is so large. Some species of Puffer Fish can grow up to 2 feet long.
Even if a predator manages to catch a one before it has a chance to inflate itself, the foul tasting and lethal toxins it releases will soon have them regretting their decision, and few would survive the experience, except for the Tiger Shark and some sea snakes, which are not bothered by their toxins.
The toxins in a Puffer Fish (called Testrodotoxin) is also very deadly to humans. One pufferfish contains enough toxin to kill 30 adults. If you are unlucky enough to encounter one you should keep well clear, as there is no know antidote. They do not sting though and you would only be affected if you were to eat one.
They look very scary when they’re inflated and their appearance gives out a very clear message to leave well alone.
10. Sea Snake
The Sea Snake is related to the cobra and has adapted to life in the sea just as well as its counterpart has on land. These poisonous snakes have modified their lungs which helps them to maintain buoyancy and remain underwater for longer periods of time.
They have flattened tails that help them to swim. They still need to breath air to survive so you will usually find them in shallow waters were they will feed on fish, eels and fish eggs. Sea snakes are mostly found in Asia and Australia and there are many different species.
If you are bitten by a sea snake you will not feel the bite immediately, and only realize you have been bitten around an hour later when the symptoms start to appeal, which include stiffness, spasms of the jaw, aches and pains and severe pain in the area of the limb where the snake bit you.
It will also cause blurred vision, sleepiness and breathing problems. Their bite can be treated with an anti-venom and although quite serious, a bite from a sea snake will not usually be fatal.
Sea snakes are small and shy creatures that, like most of the other creatures in this post, will only attack if they are threatened or startled.
11. Salt Water Crocodile
The Salt Water Crocodile, which can be found on the northern coast of Australia and south east Asia, is the world’s largest reptile. They have been recorded to grow as large as 10 meters long. They are aggressive and very dangerous and will eat almost anything they can kill, including humans.
The females can lay around 60 eggs at a time and depending on how warm or cool the nesting area is, will be the deciding factor of whether the babies will be male or female. Once hatched the mother will watch over them until they can look after themselves, but only a lucky few will survive long enough into adulthood.
They have huge jaws which contain around 68 teeth and the fourth tooth in the bottom jaw is larger than all the rest and can be seen when the mouth is closed, which makes them easy to recognize. Their heavy jaws can exert pressure of several tons and they have no trouble crushing the bones of their victims.
Although they are known as Saltwater Crocodiles they are also happy to live in freshwater rivers and swamps too.
They are very territorial creatures and will defend their territories with extreme force. An average lifespan of these ferocious creatures is around 70 years.
12. Moray Eel
The Moray Eel is a snake like fish with a scaleless body and is known to be very aggressive and dangerous if threatened. The Giant Moray Eel can grow up to 3 meters long. It has a very large head with razor sharp teeth.
Although not toxic the bite can be very nasty, which is sometimes made worse because they victim will instinctively “pull back” from a bite and inflict more damage to themselves. Moray Eels have been known to bite fingers and thumbs clean off.
They live in tropical waters and prefer to hide out in coral beds and rocky crevices. They are mostly night hunters and will feed on passing fish, squid, octopus and crab. They do have predators though which are mostly other Moray Eels and sometimes barracuda (another dangerous fish in its own right).
There are over 200 species of Moray Eels, from very small ones about 10 cm in length to the Giant Moray which can measure up to 10 feet in length.
The females can produce up to 10,000 eggs and it takes over a year for a baby Moray Eel to be strong enough to swim to the ocean floor to safety, so very few of them survive to be adults.
13. Textile Cone Snail
The Textile Cone Snail is one of the most venomous creatures in the sea, in fact it produces some of the most toxic substances known to man.
and their sting contains enough venom to kill up to 20 humans! There is no anti venom and a sting from this scary creature could kill you within a few minutes.
Although they move very slowly they are in fact very active and successful hunters. One of the most unique features of the Cone Snail is the harpoon they use to spear their food, which is actually a large tooth with a venomous barb inside it. They can easily catch fast swimming fish due to the accuracy and speed of their shot, and their venom paralyzes their victim instantly. The barbs on its harpoon locks on to the fish and allows the snail to reel it in. They have a vacuum like mouth which easily ingests their food whole once caught.
They do not attack humans purposely and the majority of human related deaths are due to people accidentally standing on them, or picking them up on the beach. They have beautiful shells and people will pick them up not realizing they contain one of the world’s most poisonous creatures.
They can be found in the tropical oceans of the world and grow to about 6 inches long. There are over 500 different species of cone snail, and they come in many different sizes, the larger species are the ones that are the deadliest.
14. Blue Ringed Octopus
The Blue Ringed Octopus is a tiny little creature that produces one of the most lethal venoms in the ocean, in fact, there is enough toxin inside this miniature octopus to kill at least 30 humans. They grow to be about 8 inches long and they feed mostly on shrimps and small crabs.
They have about 60 distinctive blue rings on their bodies that each measure about 2 mm in diameter, which gives them their names. The rings are generally only noticeable when they are disturbed, feeding or threatened.
This beautiful ocean creature only lives for about two years, so they need to mature early. When they are born they are the size of a small pea and grow to be about the size of a golf ball once adults. They will mate only once in their lifetime and the male will die after mating. The female will take care of her 50-100 eggs, in her tentacles, for around 50 days before they eventually hatch, they will then float off to join the other plankton (small floating organisms) in the ocean.
It is then that the female will die, as she has not been able to feed while looking after her eggs. They are found in the waters off Australia, but also Japan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
15. Scorpion Fish
The Scorpion Fish is in the same family as the Stone Fish and can be found in the tropical waters off the coast of America as well as the Indian and South Pacific Oceans.
They have very sharp prickly fins covering their bodies that contain a very poisonous venom. A sting from one of these fish would cause unbearable pain and medical attention should be sought immediately. They live among the coral reefs and prefer shallow waters. They will usually rest during the day and come out to feed at night.
The spikes are never used to sting or stun their prey, as they only use them for self-defense, they prefer to hide in small crevices and ambush their prey when they venture close enough for a strike. Their main diet consists of small fish and crustaceans that inhabit the coral reefs.
Scorpion fish can lay up to 15,000 eggs at one time and the eggs will hatch within two days, remaining near the surface until they are large enough to swim down to the safety of the ocean floor. Although very vulnerable at this early stage of life, when they are adults, they will have few natural predators. There are 300 species of scorpion fish throughout the world and some can grow as large as 17 inches long.
They are experts at blending into their surroundings and they are often mistaken for rocks by careless divers.