Big, Bad, Dangerous - Creatures In The Open Water

Big, Bad, Dangerous – Creatures In The Open Water

Big, Bad, Dangerous – Creatures In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Over the last few years, many juvenile Great White Sharks have populated the shallow waters in Huntington Beach, creating a stir among surfers, SUP paddleboards and wind surfers who flock to the Southern Californian beach.

During his completion of the 5 Oceans (a solo marathon swim in each of five oceans of the world: Atlantic, Arctic, Southern, Indian and Pacific), United Nations Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh studied and prepared for a wide variety of creatures that could be of potential harm to him.

Pugh came up with these Big 7 Creatures that can pose potential danger to open water swimmers:

1. Polar Bear
Found in the Arctic. They look cute, but they are extremely dangerous. They are one of the few animal species that will hunt a human. They do not fear man. And when they come for you – not much will stop them. They move very quickly. The last Briton to be killed by a wild animal was killed in August by a polar bear on the Island of Spitsbergen. Four of his colleagues were badly mauled.

2. Nile Crocodile
Found in many rivers and lakes in Africa. They are patient. They wait. They are ambush predators. It is difficult to see them – because most rivers and lakes are murky. Not many people survive a crocodile attack.

3. Hippopotamus
You should see them – they kill more people in Africa than any other animal, other than the mosquito (malaria). A bite from a hippo is serious.

4. Leopard seal
Found off the Antarctic continent. They are a frightening looking animal. They have razor sharp teeth and let out a blood curdling hiss when you get near them. One moment they want to be your friend – and they will kill a penguin and drop it in front of you as a gift. The next moment they are trying to grab your leg. A research diver was attacked and killed by a leopard seal off Rothera research station in 2003.

5. Great White Shark
Found in most oceans. Obviously very dangerous. But a surprising number of people survive great white attacks. I trained with a young swimmer in Cape Town who had his leg ripped off – but he survived.

6. Homo sapien
How many swimmers are hit annually by boats and jet skis or have experienced near misses?

7. Box jellyfish
Found especially off the Australian coast. Some species are very venomous. An sting by a box jellyfish can be fatal.

There are also several other creatures that pose potential problems for open water swimmers around the world:

* Orcas
They can handle themselves well against the Great White Shark. Enough said.

* Sea snakes
Air-breathing aquatic snakes have some of the most potent venom of all snakes. Some have gentle dispositions and bite only when provoked, but others are much more aggressive and teeth may remain in the wound.

* Needlefish
These slender fish have long, narrow jaws filled with multiple sharp teeth and can jump out of the water at high speeds over the decks of shallow boats, especially when attracted by light at night.

* Piranha.
Known for their sharp teeth and a voracious appetite for meat, the total number of piranha species is unknown with estimates ranging from fewer than 30 to more than 60.

There are other predators and creatures for open water swimmers to be cautious of, without a doubt. However, humans are visitors in the marine world where its natural denizens must be respected and protected.

Copyright © 2008 – 2019 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones