Boaters Beware: Top 5 Most Dangerous Sea Animals


This summer, a female otter off the coast of Monterey, California, is harassing wakeboarders and surfers, stealing and sometimes destroying their boards. It’s gotten so bad that a wildlife crew is trying to capture her. Her “cuteness” becomes mildly terrifying in this video, where she charges at a man in a wetsuit. But sea otter “841″, as she’s now called, is not the only animal threat to those who enjoy being on the water…and not the most dangerous by far.

It’s a good reminder that mariners should be mindful of animal threats. Here are the top five, as determined by OceanGrafix, a producer of NOAA print-on-demand nautical charts:

1. Blue-ringed octopus

While only the size of a golf ball, this creature has venom that is 1,000 times more powerful than cyanide. One blue-ringed octopus can kill 26 people within minutes. Watch for them from the Sea of Japan to southern Australia and the Philippines. They hang out in intertidal flats where people come to snorkel.

2. Stonefish

If you’re swimming, you’ll find it hard to tell a stonefish from the stone on which it perches. Yet it’s the most venomous fish of the sea. Stings from touching one of 13 of its spines result in terrible pain, swelling, tissue necrosis and even death. While these killers were first mostly seen from India to Australia, they’ve migrated to the Caribbean Sea and even to the waters of the Florida Keys. Another common fish, the pufferfish, is one of the most toxic fish in the world (and a delicacy in Japan). Pufferfish are common off the coast of the U.S., South America, Japan and India.

3. Sperm whales

You don’t even have to get in the water to be subject to the wrath of a sperm whale.