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Hawaii is a bucket list destination for many people. And we are thrilled you are visiting! But beware, here are the top 5 cool sea creatures you want to keep your distance from on your next dive.
Hawaiian Monk Seal
In the Hawaiian language, monk seals are called Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua, which means “dog that runs in rough water.” Hawaiian monk seals are not necessarily dangerous to humans. Though they have been known to bite if cornered or threatened and have a ferocious bite. But a monk seal's main threats come from humans.
Commercial hunting was outlawed in 1909 and prohibited by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, but Hawaiian monk seals still face challenges from illegal fishing gear as well as loss of habitat due to rising sea levels and coastal development.
Tiger sharks, although exceptionally large sharks, are not particularly aggressive. Tiger shark attacks on divers are extremely rare and often the result of mistaken identity, where the shark is surprised or curious and investigates what it might have perceived as potential prey.
If a diver remains calm when approached by a tiger shark, the shark will normally swim away without further incident. However, if provoked or threatened (by hitting or poking), a tiger shark will not hesitate to attack.
While most tiger sharks prefer to hunt their prey in the dark hours of night due to their nocturnal habits, some individuals have adapted and learned that fishermenprovide an easy meal during daylight hours. To them, those fishing boats are full of fish, and they ooze fish guts as they pull into the harbor.
When you are looking at potential creatures that are prey, the moray eels’ hideout might be something you should avoid. The Moray Eel is a carnivorous animal that consumes its food live, so poking and wiggling your finger in a hole might not be a clever idea.
Your first glimpse of this creature could easily be its mouth, with a set of sharp teeth that can easily puncture your skin. Luckily for humans, however, morays are not aggressive to us and will only bite if provoked or threatened.
(Are you seeing the pattern yet? Don’t Poke!)
The bite itself can be painful and cause an infection (as with any other animal), but it is remarkably rare for these underwater predators to attack unprovoked.
Whitetip Reef Shark
The whitetip reef shark is shy and nocturnal. It prefers shallow lagoons, channels, and reefs where it can blend in with the ocean floor during the day, emerging at night to feed on crabs, octopuses, and small fish.
While these sharks are generally non-aggressive towards humans, it is best not to disturb them if you encounter one on your next scuba diving or snorkeling adventure—they have been known to bite on rare occasions, especially when startled or harassed by divers. You can identify this silky-smooth creature by its long narrow snout and white-tipped fins.
While octopuses are generally not dangerous, they can be aggressive when they feel threatened. They have at least nine brains, making them incredibly intelligent creatures.
It is unlikely that you will be bitten by an octopus while diving—but if they do bite you, it will hurt and could cause a serious infection of the wound.
The bacterium in their saliva is poisonous to humans and could put you in the hospital if left untreated. They have been known to latch onto your hand or foot and will not let go until they are ready to do so, which can take hours. They smell with their arms, which means no matter how careful we are about hiding ourselves from these creatures, there is always a possibility that one might find its way towards us during an underwater excursion!
Hawaii is known for its beautiful waters but be aware of these creatures.
If you find yourself visiting Hawaii, join us on a diving trip off the coast of Kona!
You will see some of the most beautiful waters and marine life in the world. However, there are also creatures you must be aware of lurking below. If you find yourself interested in frolicking in the water, make sure to observe only with your eyes!