Florida's Salt-Water Dangerous Creatures
Florida---My Salt Water Paradise
Unequivocally---there is no place I'd rather be than in Florida where I can swim, snorkel and dive in the saltwater---that surrounds two-thirds of its peninsula, but I watch for Florida's salt water dangerous creatures because we share the same space. And, it is their home I am visiting so it pays to be savvy as I enjoy one of my greatest pleasures---Florida's saltwater for exploring, swimming and snorkeling.
Collecting shells and exploring the sea life that lived under the blue-green waters of Florida. We learned to respect the sea residents and how to fight the undercurrents that would carry one out to sea.
Photographer Revisits Underwater Paradise | National Geographic
We were lucky to enjoy some beautiful private strips of secluded beaches that did not have a Lifeguard so we swam at our own risk---which was lacking in good judgment on our part---but we enjoyed our own private fun in the sun beach. That is until my Daddy found out where we went---and goodbye fun---and to our private beach in the sun.
But that did not stop us from traveling to other beaches with my convertible top down--- we sailed the highway of life to our beach paradise. Daddy did not know every place we went---but he was close.
With all the beauty we found below the surface we wanted gills implanted so we could stay forever. However, our paradise below the surface---had some marine life that one needed our awareness of--- and to respect their boundaries. I accidentally stepped on a Jellyfish more than once ---and the feeling is not one I relish to experience---again.
We watched for any unfriendly or dangerous creatures--it is best to not to touch any strange creatures, shells or plants and stay safe. Remember we are the underwater visitors as we invade their territory.
Wise Below the Surface Rules
If all divers, swimmers and snorkelers should remember three important rules:
1.) Always do the “Buddy System” never swim, dive or snorkel alone in the Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico around Florida or anywhere else for that matter.
2.) Make it a rule to look only and never touch anything below the surface. Beauty can kill or make you sick---so please adhere to this rule. Use your camera to capture the moment and stay safe.
3.) Never go into sunken ships or boats---the risk is too great---because one may become trapped from a fallen object or the current can shift the vessel's position becoming a danger to divers.
My Daddy made me memorize this at an early age when we went to the beach on a vacation---I was seven years old.
- Barracudas--- Barracudas are audacious and curious creatures that are dangerous to humans. They will assault swimmers, divers or snorkelers. Their size varies from small to up to six feet. They are found in warm tropical sea waters.
However, we have found them in creeks, ponds and in hammocks of Florida---so beware in fresh water as well. These are fierce-looking creatures with long sharp teeth and they are not afraid of humans.
In the sea or fresh water do not wear anything shiny it attracts them and they think it is feeding time. A Life Guard told Marti and I years ago not to wear anything shiny because it fascinated sharks---so we left our jewelry at home
- Blue-Ringed Octopus--- The attack of this tiny creature can prove deadly and there is no known antidote for a bite from it.
As you will see in the video when angry their blue rings are bright blue. This Octopus displays various colors so never touch and keep your distance.
Blue-Ringed Octopus can camouflage their skin color and show off their fluorescent rings when they become confused or angry.
Florida sighting reported of Blue-Ringed Octopus--- It is wise to use caution and not to touch any creatures of the sea.
- Box Jellyfish---Boxes of Death--- the Box Jellyfish--- is a chief risk for divers, swimmers and snorkelers---killing more humans that sharks, crocodiles and stonefish combined.
These Jellyfish are so fragile that even a tiny shrimp might rip its delicate body so it destroys t with a very strong poison. Jellyfish do not hunt for their food but relies on nourishment to collide into its tentacles. Box Jellyfish are fast swimmers as speeds up to 8 feet per minute.
A Box Jellyfish has 60 tentacles elongating five feet in length, organized in four clusters at the corners of a box-shaped bell. The bell could be as larger as a volleyball. Its tentacles has up to 5 million stinging armed nematocysts.
Also called cells which has a fluid-filled sac within---which is a spiral hollow thread that is swiftly turned out to capture food or for defense. They have 24 eyes and are the most recognized jellyfish for being the nearest to having a brain than any other jellyfish.
Annually, in late summer the mature box jellyfish spawns at the mouth of rivers before dying. In the spring these polyps burst into little jellyfish which travels down rivers into beaches where people are enjoying the saltwater unaware that these cute jellyfish are very dangerous.
Cone Snail Seashells
Cone Snail Sea Shells.
The snail which occupies the pretty cone shells transports a deadly toxin that is capable of killing humans. The poison from one cone is able to kill 700 people.
Some call them the silent assassins drugging sleeping fish before injecting their poison.
The good news for humans---the Cone Snails hunt at night and are mainly found (per the current data) in Australia and tropical waters.
However, we know that species known for certain zones migrate to many places; so wear thick-soled shoes when walking in saltwater.
There are over 600 known species so one can never be too careful.
Crown of Thorns Starfish
- Crown of Thorns Starfish---The thorns (Sharp Spines) surrounded with poisonous skin and if a human becomes pierced with one or inserted and it breaks off it will cause, vomiting and swelling. Get emergency treatment right away.
These starfish are a big danger to our reefs as they are coral eaters and have been a big menace on the Great Barrier Reef for years.
In some area divers harvest them to spare our coral reefs. These starfish are a great threat to the coral in oceans all over the world.
Irukandjis---is a relative of the Boxed Jellyfish, but not as deadly. These Jellyfish are small and seen more in the summertime months. Watch out at the beaches a place they can invade as well.
If stung it can cause one’s blood pressure to rise dangerously for susceptible victims. However, there is no recorded data for Irukandjis being responsible for any deaths. The sting is minor, but 20 minute or more the victim can develop severe pain which can last for hours.
Never ignore any sting ---get out of the water at once--- it can affect diving ability if not taken care of immediately.
Lionfish have invaded the Atlantic Ocean from the data collected in the past two years. Its poisonous fin rays are a hazard to swimmers, fisherman, divers and snorkelers. If pricked by a Lionfish---one can experience vomiting, dizziness, heart failure and even death.
Many divers harvest the Lion Fish as they are dangerous to humans and other species. It is an ongoing challenge to keep our beaches and reefs free of them.
Moray Eels---The current data on Moray Eels provided is---divers become bitten when feeding them or they thought a diver had food in his hand.
The lesson here is Do Not Feed Sea Residents---like any creäture they can get used to being fed by some divers and expect it when they see one.
Respect their area when making videos or taking underwater pictures because they are fast and their bite can take one’s entire hand in their mouth.
They are very dangerous when made angry---normally---they are shy creatures and try to hide from any divers.
Flower Sea Urchin
Sea Urchins---Avoid the black sea urchin with their sharp black spines---if one penetrates into the flesh it could break off producing long-term swelling and redness.
The most dangerous is the flower sea urchin, which is very beautiful as its appearance seems enclosed with abundant of flowers. Do not touch these---the flowers are poison forceps which will cause paralysis and even death. Current data show several people killed by the flower sea urchin.
Remember---look but do not touch.
Salt Water Crocodiles
Salt Water Crocodiles---Yes, there are Crocodiles around Florida so be aware of them as well as the known resident of Florida the Alligator.
Crocodiles are the largest living Crocodilian today---it’s from the family of large reptiles that lived 3.5 million years ago in the Cretaceous period.
They can grow to 22 feet in length and are a hazard to swimmers, divers and snorkelers in the saltwater.
These endangered reptiles kill and hurt people every year.. Reports of crocs being more vicious than alligators because they will chase their prey even if it is human.
Sharks are Seen Swimming in Florida Waters
Sharks--- I will give a shark all the territory it wants. When I am in saltwater I do not wear jewelry or anything shiny. Sharks can see in color and their eyesight becomes enhanced at night so it is very dangerous for night diving.
One should never wear orange or yellow and never swim with even the smallest cut on your body. Sharks have an intense sense of smell will attack any scent of blood.
Splashing and vibrations in the water attracts sharks---that is probably why so many beach swimmers suffer attacks during the summer months with so many enjoying the beautiful beaches of Florida.
Some scientists believe why sharks attack surfers on boards is because they are similar to sea lions or seals. Others believed that divers in black suits look like prey when attacked.
When I was seven years old I accidentally caught a baby Hammerhead shark in the Gulf. It had short hair and it was soft like a puppies. It was about 10 inches long and I wanted to keep it---but my Daddy said to give it back to its Mama. It was so cute and it was a beautiful shade of grey. So,I gently put it back in the water and it swam away to its mother.
Stinging Coral aka Fire Coral
Fire Coral is also known as stinging coral is really living organisms. They are tiny animals grouped together in colonies.The hard coral-like skeleton fluctuate from large leaves to finger-like bony branched horns. And, in colors from shades yellow, green to brown colors. The effects of their sting is similar to Hydroid stings.
Stingrays—can kill humans with their long whipped tail that has one or two spines. The sharp spines can cut through a diver’s suit injecting their poison.
Proven data provided concurs that 2/3 of stingrays are poisonous and if struck in the chest can kill a human.
Many can travel in groups of hundreds close to the beaches of Florida--so swim where a Life Guard can alert swimmer, surfers and snorkelers.
Stingray range from small to very large so be aware of them and do not bother or get too close while below the surface.
When in their home---show respect and give them plenty of room.
The stone fish looks like a rock on the sea bottom---but it deadly with it 13 poisonous spines on its back. It feeds on small fish and shrimp. Stone fish are found in sand in narrow channels that connects the open sea with a lagoon or better known as tidal inlets.
Never touch it and walk carefully and wear thick-soled shoes. Be careful exploring in these inlets and especially when looking under rocks or turning them over. It's best to do what I do---use a stick or the pointed end of a cane fishing pole.
People have reported the pain from a Stone Fish might last for hours. And, brief paralysis, shock and even death may result. So be very careful when exploring and looking for shells. Life is to enjoy and knowing the risks are just good preventive measures
White Cuvierian Tubules
White Cuvierian Tubules
White Cuvierian Tubules---When handled these creatures can become angry and expel a poison which can cause blindness if it becomes discharged or rubbed into the eyes.
Be knowledgeable about the creatures, fish, shells and plant in the seas and lakes.Florida is a salt-water and fresh water paradise.
A Special Tribute to Jacques Cousteau
Jacques Cousteau was an inventor who brought the beautiful underwater world to our attention. He was the reason I loved to explore the waters around Florida. I value everything that has his touch and label on it. He made the underwater paradise more accessible to humans with his initial exploring.
Thanks for opening more of the world for the seekers of the sea.
Diving in Florida Springs and Sinkholes
- Diving in Florida Springs and Sinkholes
Divers enjoy diving in the springs and sink holes to explore the caves and caverns many feet below the surface. They photograph another World below the surface with Prehistoric findings and fossils.
Aquariums, Art Festivals and Seafood
- Aquariums, Art Festivals and Seafood
Take a journey of viewing salt water residents and their environment in the Aquariums---then enjoy seeing Art Festivals and Seafood Delights---where people enjoy life and living.
Do you plan your vacations to visit the beautiful Florida Beaches?
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2013 Barbara Purvis Hunter