7 Beach Critters That Could Kill You

When Jaws first hit theaters so many decades ago, who knew it would cause legions of happy beachgoers to fear the waters for so many years to come? Well, if you thought a great white was the only thing capable of sending you to meet your maker along the sandy shores, think again. Here are some beach critters you seriously don’t want to mess with.

Cone SnailsWhen you think of the word “deadly,” the image of a slimy slug that moves at the rate of about five inches an hour probably doesn’t come to mind. It should. This underwater undertaker packs enough venom to kill a human. Next time you see a pretty seashell you might want to take home to your mom, think twice before picking it up.

Blue-Ringed OctopusJust because an octopus isn’t large enough to take on Mega Shark doesn’t mean it can’t kill you. Or Mega Shark. The blue-ringed octopus is no bigger than a golf ball, but one bite from this fella will release enough toxin to stop your heart within ten minutes. The poison, called tetrodotoxin, starts by paralyzing the victim and cuts off your ability to breathe in air. They’re not vicious animals so, if you see one, just back away.

Box JellyfishThe box jellyfish is one of the deadliest animals in the world. It’s venom is so powerful it can cause heart failure before you’re able to make it to the shore once it’s gotten its hands on you. If it doesn’t kill you? Well, then you can expect weeks of recovery and excruciating pain, along with battle scars left over from its tentacles that’ll likely never go away.

StonefishStonefishThe deadliest thing about the stonefish is that you’ll rarely see them coming. Or, rather, you’ll never see yourself about to step on them. The stonefish highly resemble, you guessed it, stones. They blend in easily to their surroundings and emit neurotoxins from their dorsal spines. Luckily, Australians have becomes so used to these guys being stepped on they tend to have anti-venom readily available. As long as you realize you need it, you’ll survive.

Flower UrchinThe flower urchin proves that looks can be deceiving. I mean, how could something that cute be deadly? It turns out the spines of this thing don’t actually release venom, but they can cause excruciating pain and muscular paralysis leading you to drown before you can reach the shore. They also hide themselves with sand and debris, so you never really know where they might be. Imagine being killed by something that looks like a flower. What a weak way to go!

Sea SnakesThere are literally dozens of sea snakes with enough venom potent enough to kill a human. Unsurprisingly, like most animals on this list, you’ll them floating around the waters of Australia. If you’re an offshore fisherman, they also tend to show up in your net off of Thailand. Sure, there’s usually anti-venom readily available for most of these guys, but that’s only if you’re close enough to get it in time.

Portuguese Man-of-WarOften mistaken for a jellyfish, the Portuguese Man-of-War is actually a colony of animals made up to look like one. These polyps also pack a wallop with tentacles that can reach up to 165 feet. Their venom isn’t deadly to humans, but the sting from them can cause enough pain to lead to drowning, especially if you come across a group of them, which can contain 1,000 or more Man-of-Wars. Good luck with that.

photos ©istockphoto

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