While sharks seem to have monopolized our fear of the deep sea, there are plenty of other dangerous animals that strike more often than they do. In fact, you're more likely to die from a falling coconut than you are from a shark attack, but here's a look at some other ocean dwellers that are more likely to make an appearance this summer.
There has been an influx of these mesmerizing creatures on the east coast this year. With reported sightings in Long Island and Martha's Vineyard the Portuguese Man O' War has caused its share of beach closings. Fatalities have also been reported, but the fear of encountering one of these alien creatures is because of the excruciating pain their tentacles inflict and the permanent scarring they cause.
While not deadly, fire coral can be a real nuisance to Pacific Ocean surfers. Fire coral looks like ordinary coral, but is actually an animal with invisible tentacles. Contact with the tentacles can cause minor skin irritation, or in the worst cases, extreme nausea and dizziness.
Considered to be the most venomous sea creature, the box jellyfish can cause death with minimal contact. According to Jean-Philippe Soule from Native Planet, there have been 70 reported deaths caused by the box jellyfish. And even when death does not occur the pain can be paralyzing.
While you are more likely to be bitten by a barracuda than a shark, the chances of death from a barracuda bite are nil. The fear factor with these fish really comes as result of their aggressive nature. These predator fish have very sharp teeth and very small mouths and attack with crazy ferociousness. Christen Conger from Animal Planet also notes that "unlike sharks that hunt by scent, barracudas spot prey with their bulging eyes, making it easier to spy swimmers' dangling legs."
The world's most venomous fish, the stone fish lies on the ocean floor with perfect camouflage. And while the stone fish is only dangerous if stepped on or caught, it is nearly impossible to distinguish from a regular rock. A stone fish sting can be quite deadly, but even with treatment amputation is often required.
These very tiny creatures (2 to 20 cm) are covered in blue ringlets and their color changes with their mood. But the beauty of these octopi shouldn't fool you, they're deadly. Here's what Jean-Phillipe Soule from Native Planet has to say about them, "The bite might be painless, but this octopus injects a neuromuscular paralyzing venom. The venom contains some maculotoxin, a poison more violent than any found on land animals. The nerve conduction is blocked and neuromuscular paralysis is followed by death. The victim might be saved if artificial respiration starts before marked cyanosis and hypotention develops."
Who's more feared in the ocean than the shark? While this was meant to be a list about other animals to fear in the ocean, there's simply no denying the shark's awesome presence in the water. Pictured above is a Tiger shark, recently responsible for cutting into a swimmer off the coast of Maui. Have fun at the beach!
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