For all the gripes about the cold, wet weather here in the UK, at least the British don’t have to deal with the dangerous animals, insects and fish found in hotter climates.
Err … actually the fish part needs revising.
With recent news reports revealing the Amazon pacu fish (also known as the Ball Cutter for painfully literal reasons) has been discovered in European waters, we’ve cast the net to keep tabs on how close the frightening fish are getting to the UK.
We’ll start with the big news. Commonly found in the Amazon, the pacu fish, infamously nicknamed the Ball Cutter, has reportedly caused South American fishermen to bleed to death by biting off their testicles. Ouch.
The bad news is that there have been sightings this year in the River Seine in Paris and also the Øresund channel between Denmark and Sweden, which has prompted warnings for men to keep their trunks on if swimming. If that isn’t enough to freak you out, take a look at those strangely familiar teeth. Nothing a good fisherman with some quality fishing gear can’t handle.
Great white shark
National newspapers have this year reported sightings of a great white shark, which was spotted by experienced fishermen off the coast of Cornwall. Now experienced fishermen should know their mackerels from their muscles, so surely they know a great white shark when they see one.
What we can be sure about is that the great white shark is feared by millions of people especially after Spielberg’s terrifying movie Jaws. With its razor-sharp teeth, stealth, speed and power, the great white is the ultimate marine killing machine. Let’s hope it keeps its distance.
Found lurking mainly in dark crevices in sub-tropical and tropical seas, the moray eel’s razor-sharp teeth coupled with its strong, locking jaws will inflict severe injuries on humans if they get too close.
The bacteria which coats its teeth can also cause infection, so all things considered, moray eels are best avoided, which means don’t go poking fingers down dark holes when diving abroad.
Oh by the way — a 4ft-long moray was caught in the UK in 2009, so they do occasionally stray.
This small fish isn’t so frightening to look at and is becoming quite common in UK waters. However it will give you a nasty shock if you happen to stand on it, which is much easier to achieve than you might think.
This well camouflaged fish has sharp venomous spines spaced along its dorsal fins, which stick up out of the sand and can spear unsuspecting bathers and surfers. The venom injected into the soles of feet is a nerve poison, which generally causes excruciating pain in the victim.
The common stingray is found in UK waters and is a fairly placid and beautiful relation to the shark. Its first line of defence is to flee; however, if the stingray is cornered, then it has a brutal alternative to escaping.
Concealed in the stingray’s tail is a long serrated, venomous stinger, which carries a protein-based venom. This weapon can cause fatal injuries especially if it snaps off inside its victim. In 2006, the shock death of wildlife expert, Steve Irwin warned the world about the dangers of stingrays.
The snakehead fish is commonly found in warmer seas, but in 2008 an angler hooked one of these in an East Midland’s river, which came as quite a shock to wildlife experts, who suggest it was abandoned by somebody.
The snakehead fish originated over 50 million years ago and has evolved with all the raw brutality needed to survive crueler times. It owns a large mouth lined with sharp teeth and will devour just about anything in or around water. It breathes atmospheric air too, so it can survive on land long enough for it to crawl from pond to pool wreaking havoc on the native species.
The tiger fish (or goliath fish as it also known) is as ferocious as it looks. It’s renowned for being a highly destructive predator able to take on prey much bigger than itself and boasts all the nasty tools required for a proper job.
Exceptionally strong, fast and well armoured, the tiger fish owns powerful jaw muscles and those frightening teeth mesh together just like a piranhas for maximum mess factor. The good news is that it’s only found in freshwater in Africa. We just thought we’d throw it in the pool to show you how lucky you are living in the UK.