Barracuda Behavior: Are Barracuda Dangerous?

are barracuda dangerous

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The barracuda is an opportunistic predator that can swim at speeds of 36mph (56mk/h) and has a nasty set of sharp teeth.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at just how feisty these fish can be, and answer the age-old question of are barracuda dangerous?

In essence, yes barracuda are dangerous. Some species of barracuda can be quite aggressive and even bite swimmers. Although rare, it certainly does happen.

Let’s take a closer look…

Are Barracuda Actually Dangerous?

The Great Barracuda is a large, powerful fish that typically grows to around 5 feet and can weigh more than 100 pounds.

They are one of the fastest predators in the ocean and are known to be aggressive hunters. But they only seek fast and stressed prey.

These fish have a large mouth that is filled with two rows of teeth. They have an outer row of smaller, razor-like teeth that are used for tearing, whilst the inner set is used for piercing.

The teeth of the barracuda work well together in order for the fish to tear and shred their food.

They have small holes at the opposite ends of each tooth which allow the barracuda to close their mouths fully.

As these fish are predators, they are naturally inquisitive and are known to approach divers. They may even attempt to steal a catch from spearfishermen.

The good news is that barracudas rarely attack divers unprovoked, and it’s typically safe to swim around them and be in their presence.

Has A Barracuda Ever Killed Someone?

Attacks from barracuda are incredibly rare, they are intelligent enough to know that we are not food and not to attack us.

As mentioned earlier, they typically only seek fast and stressed prey, so provided you’re not swimming like a salmon and flapping like a bird you’re probably safe around this fish.

However, although attacks and fatalities are rare, they have happened.

In 1947, the death of Key West was attributed to a barracuda, followed by another case off the coast of North Carolina in 1957.

A well-documented barracuda attack also occurred on a freediver off Pompano Beach. Sadly this diver was bitten twice and the injuries resulted in 31 stitches.

These attacks are incredibly rare and can usually be avoided by some simple safety precautions.

Is It Safe To Swim With Barracuda?

For the most part, it’s safe to dive and swim around barracuda. However, as with all wild animals precautions should be taken.

These fish are known to attack divers that carry shiny objects such as knives, so if you know you’re going diving it’s a good idea to keep your knife concealed whilst around barracuda.

Barracuda are scavenger fish that look for remains and are usually not interested in humans.

Attacks from barracuda are rare and are usually the result of being provoked or poor visibility whilst in the water.

Barracuda are given a fierce reputation much like Sharks and Piranhas. When in actual fact they are not interested in us and attacks are often the result of them mistaking people for large distressed prey.

There is an interesting account of someone being attacked by a barracuda here, which you may be interested in reading.

In this account, it details that the diver had swum with barracuda many times before, so the attack was out of the ordinary.

Are Barracuda Aggressive?

Barracuda are aggressive, dominant hunters that seek small, distressed prey. Thankfully, we’re not on the menu.

Nevertheless, attacks have happened from barracuda, and a bite from one of these fish will certainly leave a mark.

Barracuda typically rely on the element of surprise to catch their prey, they will stay below their prey before striking at incredible speeds and snapping up their target.

Due to the size of the barracuda, they don’t have many natural predators aside from Sharks, Orca, Giant Tuna, and Dolphins, which gives them the confidence to be inquisitive and aggressive.

That said, this aggression is purely towards their prey, and not people. The aggression factor in wild animals is totally necessary for them to actively hunt their prey and be successful.

Are Barracuda Friendly?

Although the barracuda is not particularly friendly towards humans, they are passive.

They may be inquisitive and swim up to divers, but they are not looking to attack or bite people. They typically ignore divers and are more interested in catching small fish.

As this fish is known for its aggression, it’s not a good idea to try and make friends with a barracuda.

Don’t swim up close to them or try to reach out to touch them, this could be seen as a threat and may provoke an attack.

It’s a good idea to keep your distance from barracuda in the wild, although typically safe they can be unpredictable at times.

They are able to swim at incredibly fast speeds and are known to charge at divers if they feel provoked or threatened.

Even a nip from this fish would cause serious injury, so it’s best avoided in my opinion.

Final Thoughts

Are barracuda dangerous? Yes, they can be. Barracudas are wild animals that are known for their aggression, and therefore should be treated with respect and caution.

These fish have razor-sharp teeth that can easily pierce and tear through flesh.

Barracuda are generally passive towards humans and are not looking for a confrontation, but it’s best to stay out of their way and not get too close.

There has been a very limited number of attacks on humans from barracuda and even a fatality attributed to this fish.

If you know you’re going to be diving near barracuda, ensure you don’t take shiny objects with you and take safety precautions.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this post and learned something new today about the barracuda.

If you have found this post helpful, feel free to share it with others and stick around to learn more about marine wildlife.