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Top 12 Dangerous Marine Life In The Maldives

The marine life in The Maldives is plentiful, colourful and tropical. From the giants of the ocean to the smallest corals and fish, there is simply so much to explore in the underwater world of The Maldives.

However, you may not necessarily be aware that some marine life can pose a danger to admirers. Some can attack, sting or release poison... Whether you are snorkelling, swimming or diving, it's good to be aware of the following marine life in The Maldives that could possibly harm you. Don't forget that it is also very easy to keep safe when exploring underwater - simply by being informed, keeping your distance and knowing about the area.

At Maldives Secrets, not only are we the biggest advocates of The Maldives, but we also want our clients and other travellers to stay safe and satisified during their once in a lifetime, dream trip to The Maldives. In the Maldives, we can safely assure you that you will find many more friendly marine creatures rather than dangerous ones! So, without further ado, here are the Top 12 Dangerous Marine Life in The Maldives.

1. Lionfish (venomous)

Such a magical and beautiful fish from a distance, the lion fish is one of the most dangerous fish in The Maldives due to its poisonous sting from its fin spines. It is recognised by its stripy body and long, elegant fins. They live in shallow waters, often in the reef, but sightings tend to be uncommon.

If you see one, you can observe its beauty from a distance and remain calm. They never actively seek to attack, it is only the case when they are provoked. The lionfish is in most cases, very calm and minds its own business. They like their space and like to protect their territory. If you come too close, disturb or touch a lion fish, it might feel threatened and in return, will spread its fins and may attack with its dorsal, venomous spines. These spines are capable of producing severe pain and wounds. If you get attacked by a lion fish, you must seek medical attention immediately before the condition gets worse.

2. Stonefish (venomous)

The stonefish is considered the most venomous fish in the world. The thing is, that you usually cannot spot stonefish as they are pros at camouflage and can completely blend into their surroundings. This is so that they prey as well as predators cannot see them. Of course, that also makes it difficult for divers to spot them too. They are often found on the sea floor, in coral or rocky reefs, blending in.

The stonefish in The Maldives is usually a brown, grey colour and can have dashes of yellow or red colour on its body. The stonefish is quite large and can measure up to 20 inches. What makes stonefish dangerous, like lion fish, are the venomous spines. The venom from each spine is released as soon as pressure is applied to the spine. This means that if you accidentally step on a stone fish, the venom of the stonefish's spines will be painfully released into your skin. Like the sting of a lion fish, quick medical assistance is essential here too. An adequate amount of anti-venom will be required for complete recovery. All in all, avoid touching coral reefs with parts of your body!

3. Blue-ringed Octopus (venomous)

What looks like another fascinating and beautiful marine animal, the blue-ringed octopus also poses poisonous danger. Blue-ringed octopuses are highly venomous creatures. They can be found in tide pools and coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. They are recognised with their yellow skin and famous electric blue and black rings, which change colour when the animal feels threatened.

They are small in size and docile. The blue-ringed octopus's venom originates from their saliva, which is highly venomous as it contains powerful neurotoxin tetrodotoxin. The venom can be deadly to humans, so just be cautious and keep your distance. Let them to their own thing. Like all of these dangerous marine animals, they will only attack when they themselves feel attacked or threatened. So keep a distance and observe from a few metres away. I mean... look at how fascinating this creature is in the video below!

4. Blue-spotted Ray (venomous)

Is blue a venomous colour? It certainly is for octopuses and rays. This is the blue-spotted ribbon-tail ray, a species of stingray. These venomous rays are found in deep waters and is common throughout the Maldives.

The blue-spotted stingray warns predators of its venomous tail sting with its bright blue coloured spots along its back. While often timid and docile towards divers, the blue-spotted ribbon-tail ray is definitely capable of inflicting excruciating pain with its venomous tail spines when it feels threatened.

5. Moray Eels

Moray eels are common in the Maldives. They have razor sharp, large teeth, the main reason why they are dangerous. The moray eel is actually a calm and collected fish and most of the time is misperceived by humans. The moray eel must constantly keep its mouth open in order to breathe. They will only bite divers if they feel like they are threatened or have been disturbed. They live inside coral reefs and often keep their heads out looking for something to eat. In The Maldives you can spot the laced moray, barred thucklip moray, giant and gray moray whilst snorkelling and diving.

6. Sea Urchins

This may seem like common sense, but don’t ever step on a sea urchin! With razor sharp spikes, a mere scrape on a sea urchin will pierce your skin. Sea urchins are not poisonous, just painful - and there are lots of them in The Maldives! So, be careful and watch where you put your feet and hands when swimming, snorkelling or diving.

Sea urchins are also very beautiful from a distance, and come in all shapes, colours and sizes. Don't forget that they are living creatures and that move very slowly, you may not actually see them moving, but you may notice that they do not necessarily stay in the same spot every day.

7. Stingrays

Stingrays, as you may know, are also very common in the Maldives. Don't be too scared though, because they are often very docile and make great swimming and snorkelling companions. Their tail can sting, but they would only sting on self defence. Stingrays are amazing creature to snorkel with, just keep some distance and enjoy the moment. If you feel comfortable, you can get closer to them.

Stingrays are commonly found in lagoons of shallow water. They dig the ground and stay on shallow holes with sand on its back so that is looks camouflaged. Most people get stung by them because they unintentionally step on the stingrays without seeing. In most cases, when stingrays are in the sand, you can still perceive their tail.

8. Sharks

There are 26 types of sharks in The Maldives. Most commonly, snorkellers and divers will see black tip reef and white tip reef sharks. These are non-aggressive and docile sharks.

Sharks have never attacked people in the Maldives archipelago. These predators are very easy to spot there are places known for their presence.

One thing to bear in mind is that sharks have bad vision and rely on their sense of smell for prey. Be sure not carry fish bait or blood while snorkelling; sharks could mistakenly come for you. If you want to know more about all the sharks in The Maldives, where to find them and how safe it is to dive with them, please read this blog post.

9. Corals

Corals are colourful and beautiful. There isn't much to worry about here, just that some corals can be sharp, and some can sting. If you get stung by a coral, you might have a small rash (like when stung by a jellyfish) and then it will go away. You can apply a disinfectant to soothe it, such as vinegar. Try not to touch corals as not only might it cut your skin but it will also harm them from growth.

10. Triggerfish

The beautiful Triggerfish is usually not aggressive to snorkelers and divers. It is a possibility that they bite, but only to protect themselves or their eggs. The bites are non-venomous but their teeth are strong! If you get bitten, you may require medical attention.

11. Barracuda

The famous Barracuda, lives in the shallows and reaches up to two metres in length. They are extremely attracted to shiny objects and often think that it is prey. Barracudas may mistake things that shine like diamond rings for food. Also, they are curious and are scavengers, often mistaking humans for large predators, they may follow swimmers, snorkelers and divers in hopes of eating the remains of their prey. Barracuda's have a massive lower jaw full of sharp teeth, meaning a bite could be painful. With this in mind, it is best to avoid feeding or touching large barracuda.

12. Surgeonfish

When diving or snorkelling in The Maldives, you will often see stunning schools of surgeonfish. They are beautiful fish that are flattened laterally. You must simply be aware that they have sharp tails with spines. The fish use their sharp tails as a defence with predators. Their spines may cause deep wounds but they are not venomous. Surgeonfish tend to ignore divers and move away when approached.

In conclusion, this list will only help you be more aware and cautious whilst having the best time enjoying The Maldives spectacular underwater world. Here we have mentioned what you should be cautious of, but don't forget all that there is to be extremely excited about: mantas, whale sharks, turtles, dolphins, so many colourful fish and corals - and still, so much more!!

For your safety, remember to keep your distance and try not to touch corals or marine life. You can admire the colours, take it all in and even capture it with your underwater camera. We also recommend that you always swim or snorkel with someone and if you're not a confident swimmer, wear life jacket!

Let us know if you have any questions!

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