Barracuda are often portrayed as man-eating monsters of the sea. They’re even known as “varsity killers,” a reference to their ability to find and attack humans like they would an opponent in a varsity sports match. So, do barracuda attack, humans? Barracudas are aggressive hunters who attack almost any creature they can fit in their mouths. They attack humans because they think we are their next meal.
Do Barracuda Attack Humans?
Barracudas are powerful predators. They are known to attack humans and can inflict painful bites, so they should be treated with respect. Barracudas are fish that can be dangerous to humans by their razor-sharp teeth. They have the capability to cut through skin and tendons, which is why they can cause a great deal of pain and injury.
Why Do Barracuda Attack Humans?
1. Barracudas are aggressive predators
Barracudas are aggressive hunters who will attack almost any creature they can fit in their mouths, including fish, crabs, octopuses, and even sharks. It’s estimated that around 50% of the fish a barracuda eats are smaller barracuda. Barracudas are carnivorous fish found in warm coastal waters around the globe. Their powerful jaws and razor-sharp teeth make them formidable predators. Their size and coloration often frighten swimmers. Barracuda attack humans for the same reason that they attack other creatures: to get food. When a barracuda sees a human in the water, it thinks that we are its next meal. Humans are warm-blooded creatures, which means that our blood flows freely inside our bodies. Barracudas can sense this heat, so they attack humans in the same way that they attack other fish.
2. Humans smell like food
Humans smell like food because of a compound called trimethylamine oxide, or TMAO. Barracudas have a highly developed sense of smell, so they can easily smell this compound in humans. This compound is released in our bodies when we digest fish, which means that we smell like food to barracudas. As soon as the barracuda smells the TMAO on your body, it will attack you since it thinks you are its next meal.
3. Humans resemble prey
Barracudas are attracted to humans because of the way we look, not because of the way we smell. You may have noticed that barracudas don’t attack other warm-blooded creatures like dolphins and birds. Barracudas don’t smell TMAO from dolphins, and they don’t see humans when they look at birds. Humans have a streamlined shape that barracudas associate with certain fish. Barracudas may also see humans as slow-moving creatures that are easy to catch.
4. Human aggression might trigger a barracuda attack
Aggressive humans might also trigger a barracuda attack. If you try to grab a barracuda, it might mistake your action for a fish bite, which might trigger an attack. Barracudas also aren’t afraid of people, so they don’t run away when we try to catch them. When you attempt to capture a barracuda, it might mistake your action as an attempt to eat it. Barracudas are territorial, so they might attack you if you try to catch more than one.
How to Avoid Being Attacked by a Barracuda?
Stay Out of Sight
Barracudas are primarily visual hunters. If you stay out of sight, it will be hard for them to detect you. You can also make less noise by swimming with your hands at your sides and by wearing fins. If you see a barracuda, swim as quietly as possible and stay away from it. If it starts to swim toward you, move in another direction. Barracudas have very poor vision and cannot see objects more than a few inches away. They rely on vibrations to locate their prey so they are often found near rocks or coral reefs where fish are more likely to bump into the structures.
Check the Weather
The weather has a significant impact on the movement of fish. Barracudas are cold-blooded animals so they will often migrate closer to the surface of the water during a warm spell. Fishing is usually more successful in the early morning when the water is cooler and the barracudas haven’t migrated yet. When barracudas are near the surface, you can decrease your risk of being attacked by swimming in deeper water.
Swim in Shallow Waters
The number one thing to remember when avoiding a barracuda attack is that they prefer shallow waters. Barracudas like to be in the surf zone, where the water is about one to four feet deep. If you see a barracuda in deeper waters, swim quickly in the other direction. Barracudas are curious predators and may swim toward you, especially if you’re moving quickly. If you see a barracuda in shallow waters, you can scare it off by splashing your hands or fins in the water.
Go in a Group
Barracudas are solitary hunters so they prefer going after single, smaller fish. Swimming in a group of people may deter a barracuda from attacking you. If you go by yourself and you see a barracuda, you can try swimming toward other people in the water. The barracuda will probably swim away if it has a larger meal right in front of it.
When you breathe in the water, you create air bubbles. These air bubbles make noise and attract the attention of nearby barracudas. If you see a barracuda and you must breathe, exhale bubbles slowly and quietly.
How to Survive an Encounter with a Barracuda?
1. Be Prepared for Aggression
Like many aggressive creatures, barracudas are most likely to attack when they feel threatened. Be aware that, as a new presence in a barracuda’s life, you will likely be the cause of their aggression. Be prepared to defend yourself. Be respectful, but stand your ground as well. If a barracuda attacks you, it could damage your reputation in the process. They have a knack for attacking others, but also for harming themselves in the process. Keep an eye out for any signs of aggression, and be ready to end the interaction if necessary. If you feel threatened, you can always walk away from the situation. You don’t want to leave with a negative interaction if you can help it. Barracudas are known for their destructive nature, but their aggressive tendencies can also be useful in business.
2. Speak Slowly and Clearly
Barracudas are quick-moving creatures, and they won’t appreciate you trying to slow them down. It’s important to speak slowly and clearly to avoid any miscommunications. This can be challenging when dealing with a barracuda because they’re likely to talk very fast. They’ll also interrupt you, which can be very off-putting. Be prepared for this, and don’t take it personally. Just try to get your point across as clearly as possible. If you can’t get a word in, don’t worry about it. The barracuda will calm down eventually, and you’ll have another chance to discuss sensitive topics. Barracudas are quick-moving creatures, and they won’t appreciate you trying to slow them down. It’s important to speak slowly and clearly to avoid miscommunications.
3. Don’t Take It Personally
Barracudas are very direct and often aggressive in their communication. They’ll be very clear about their expectations and give you a lot of feedback. Unfortunately, they often lack interpersonal skills, so their feedback can be unhelpful and even hurtful. Take it all with a grain of salt. You’ll have the chance to respond, so don’t get too rattled by the barracuda’s un-delicacy. In fact, you might want to take the lead in the conversation, especially when it comes to constructive feedback. Be careful not to attack the barracuda’s character.
Tips for Coexisting with Barracudas
- Avoid disturbing the fish. If you see or hear a school of fish, try to stay away from them. If you are scuba diving, avoid touching the bottom of the ocean. Barracudas primarily dwell in the lower regions of the ocean floor.
- Avoid feeding the fish. It is illegal to feed any fish or aquatic animals in many countries, so keep this in mind if you are visiting a foreign shoreline. – Avoid wearing bright or dark colors, especially bright yellow or blue. Barracudas are attracted to these colors, just as they would be to a school of bait fish.
- Avoid swimming at night. Barracudas are most active at this time.
- Avoid wearing shiny objects around the water. This attracts the attention of the fish and may cause them to mistake you for a bait fish.
- Finally, if you want to avoid getting attacked by a barracuda, try not to disturb it!
Barracudas are beautiful, fascinating creatures that are normally very peaceful in nature. Although they can be dangerous if provoked, they are more likely to flee from a human than attack one. As long as you follow some basic guidelines, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about when visiting tropical waters.