Dangerous coral reef creatures you need to avoid

By Stef Zisovska
Publish Date:

This year when you’re looking at where to go for your holiday, you might be thinking that finding somewhere with a coral reef is a good choice.

In the news there are regular articles about how we are loosing huge amounts of reef to different man-made and natural disasters, so now might be the best time to visit before they create exclusion zones or there’s very little left.

If you do go to a coral reef make sure that you always respect the environment and never do any damage, see it, take pictures and leave with memories, not a piece of coral.


Coral reefs have many species of marine life that people love to observe because of the vivid colors and amazing shapes and sizes. Although they look beautiful and harmless, there are water creatures here that can be very dangerous to human life and sometimes even deadly.


Lionfish Photo Credit


Unprepared divers and snorkelers are usually the easiest targets for attacks from the underwater world. Lack of information and experience are the worst enemies of people who like to explore the sea world, this can cause serious problems and even fatal injuries.




It is a pleasure to swim in clear, warm tropical waters and snorkel the coastline, but these areas can be very dangerous. And we are not talking about sharks here. Small creatures roaming the oceans can be a bigger threat than a Great White.

The blue-ringed octopus is one of the deadliest sea animals in the world. It’s 5 to 9 inches long and lives in the Pacific and Indian oceans. This beautiful little creature contains venom that can kill a human and there is no antivenom known. The victim is not even aware of the bite because it is almost painless and if not reported in time can cause paralysis and heart attack. Blue-ringed octopus will never attack first but will if disturbed, so if you see it just avoid it and let it be.


Blue-ringed octopus Photo Credit


Another marine animal you don’t want to find yourself swim around is a box jellyfish. The level of pain their sting inflicts is unbearable thanks to their strong venom. They have tentacles covered in poison barbs and getting touched by them means a lot of pain.


Box jellyfish Photo Credit


The Stonefish is a camouflaged sea predator living near coral reefs. They look like a rock and divers get very close to them without even knowing. The Stonefish has toxins in its dorsal fin which gets activated when the fish feels threatened. Accidents happen when someone steps on a stonefish without realizing it or if someone picks it up thinking it’s a beautiful rare stone.


Stonefish Photo Credit


The Moray eel is a giant fish that looks dangerous, but it would rather stay away from humans. They have powerful jaws and sharp teeth and don’t like to be disturbed; they stay in their holes as much as possible. The problem is that people are always putting their hand where they are not supposed to. Hand feeding a Moray Eel is something you should avoid, or you will lose your fingers.


Moray eel Photo Credit


Lionfish is one of the top predators in coral reefs with a perfect defense mechanism. The sting from a lionfish can cause kidney issues and pain, nausea, muscle pain, interrupted breathing and sweating. It’s especially dangerous for people with heart problems.


Lionfish Photo Credit


These “dangerous” animals are more threatened by humans than the other way around. We harm them way more than they harm us. Avoid touching coral reefs as it damages them and the wildlife that lives there and if we don’t bother them, they won’t bother us.

The only way to stay safe is to respect their rules and their habitat.


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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.

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