Surviving The Barracuda: Do Barracudas Attack Humans?

do barracudas attack humans

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Barracudas are predatory fish that can be found all over the world in many tropical and subtropical oceans.

This fish is large, powerful, and has a nasty reputation to match. They have very few natural predators because of their ferociousness and size.

Fully grown barracuda can weigh as much as 100 pounds and be five feet in length. Equipped with large teeth, they can quickly shred and devour their prey in seconds.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the barracuda’s temperament, and answer a question many fishermen and divers are interested in. Do barracudas attack humans?

Yes, if you’re not careful, barracudas can and do attack humans. That said, this only usually occurs if they feel threatened, as for the most part, they are passive and not interested in humans.

Do Barracudas Bite Humans?

It’s incredibly rare for a human to be attacked or bitten by a barracuda, but it can happen in certain circumstances.

These large, aggressive fish need to be treated with the respect they deserve. They are equipped with large, sharp teeth that can leave a nasty injury if bitten, often resulting in stitches.

That said, these fish are not particularly interested in humans and are passive towards us. Over the last century, there have only been around 25 attacks across the globe.

This shows how rare an attack from a barracuda is, and although they do have a feared reputation, there is generally nothing to worry about when being around these fish.

Most of the attacks that do occur happen with spearfishermen who battle with the barracuda to secure their catch.

Barracuda are sneaky fish that will try to steal a spearfishermen’s catch instead of hunting their own. When this happens and they are fighting with a barracuda, a bite is may be inevitable.

Why Do Barracudas Attack Humans?

If barracuda feel intimidated, threatened, or provoked they may decide to attack a person as a form of self-defense.

A bite from barracuda usually occurs due to poor visibility, as this fish hunts by using its eyesight to detect prey before striking.

When swimming in low visibility, a barracuda may mistake a human for large prey and decide to attack. This is incredibly rare, but these fish have been known to attack divers and swimmers in poor visibility.

They are a predatory species that primarily feed on smaller fish, and given that they hunt with their sight, it’s often the most colorful or reflective fish that they go after.

Barracuda have been known to attack humans that have reflective instruments on them whilst diving, such as knives.

The knife reflects the sunlight through the ocean and gives off a shiny glint which a barracuda may interpret as a small fish.

Whilst swimming with barracuda it’s a good idea to avoid bringing reflective items into the water with you and ensure to swim smoothly with no sudden movements.

For the most part, swimming with barracudas is completely safe, they are generally passive towards humans and understand that we are not food.

Has A Barracuda Ever Killed Anyone?

Although barracuda attacks are rare, they do still happen from time to time. Sadly, these vicious fish have even been attributed to some human deaths.

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

Due to the size and aggressiveness of this fish, barracuda attacks usually result in serious injuries that require stitches.

Their teeth can be as large as 1-inch in length, and when they bite they often rip and tear which results in loss of flesh.

A well-documented attack occurred on a freediver off Pompano Beach, Florida, in 1960. The diver was bitten twice which resulted in 31 stitches.

That said, most barracuda attacks are uncommon and are usually avoidable with some simple precautions.

What To Do If You See A Barracuda

If you happen to see a barracuda whilst snorkeling or diving, there is really no need to panic.

Barracuda are passive towards humans and attacks don’t often occur for no reason. Ensure you keep your distance and stay calm, don’t make any sudden movements, and continue to swim smoothly.

These fish are sight-oriented and curious, not bloody thirsty monsters that attack for no reason.

Avoid wearing any jewelry or shiny equipment that could give off a glint, and don’t handle fish before getting in the water.

Instead of panicking and rushing for the shore, try to enjoy the experience and think you are lucky you are to experience a barracuda in the wild.

So long as you give the barracuda space and respect, there is no need to panic and you should have a wonderful experience with this fish.

Final Thoughts

Do barracuda attack humans? Yes, but rarely. Attacks on humans are very rare and usually only occur in poor visibility.

These fish are sight-oriented which means they hunt using their eyes. In poor visibility, they may mistake a diver for large prey and strike.

For the most part, there is no need to panic or worry about these fish. They are curious and not the blood-thirsty monsters they are sometimes made out to be.

Providing these animals are treated with respect and space, there is no need to panic whilst swimming around barracuda.

I think what scares most people about these fish is their large teeth and their reputation. However, in reality, they feed solely on small fish and are well aware we are not on their menu.

Yes, some attacks have occurred on people, but these are very few and far between.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned a thing or two about the barracuda today and why they may attack humans.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share it with others that may find this information useful.

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