Fish Facts ::

Dangerous fishes and sea creatures

Most marine creatures have some sort of defense to protect themselves from predators and offensive elements to help them catch their prey. They can be venomous spikes, sharp teeth or toxin, some which can be fatal to us humans. Therefore it is important that we recognize the fishes/creatures we got on our hooks before handling them. Your advised to use a pair of long nose pliers to remove hooks or handle dangerous fishes. Grip the fish's lower jaw firmly with the long nose pliers and remove the hook(with another pliers if you have). If you're not confident in doing it, ask someone who is capable to help you out. If you are unable to get any help, just cut the line and release the fish back into the water.

Below are some of the fishes you should be aware of.



This fish is very common all round Singapore waters, from deep waters to shallow beaches. There's quite a variety of species found here but most of them have venomous spikes at the base of their tail. Stingrays may burrow themselves below sand or mud to conceal themselves. An unsuspecting person stepping over the concealed stingray causes it to flip its spike upwards piercing his leg. This can be a real painful experience and can be fatal if left untreated. When a stingray is haul out of water, you should be cautious in handling it and watch out for its tail as it may waggle wildly and hit you.

Brown Stingray Stingray spikes


Scorpion Fish

Scorpion fish is another one that can give you a nasty sting. You don't want to fool around with this fish, its sting can be fatal if left untreated. It has lots of small venomous spikes on its head as well as spines at its fin. Do not handle this fish bare handed or with cloth. Use a long nose pliers for your own safety. This fish can be eaten though you really got to be careful handling it.

Painted Scorpionfish Venomous spines


Scats are commonly found in brackish waters; places like river mouth or swampy areas. They'll eat just about anything and are great fighters. Just take note of its venomous spines on its dorsal fins. It will erect its spines fully when you attempt to hold it, so make sure you have a good grip on the fish. The venom is mild but can cause quite abit of pain.

Spotted Scat Venomous spines



Rabbitfishes are one of the favourites among lots of 'ah laus' locally. They're good fighters and good eating fishes too. They have venomous spines on its dorsal, pelvic and anal fins. You can trim away the spines with a pair of scissors or use a piece of cloth to grab the fish for protection and good grip. The pain caused by its sting can be excruciating.

Streaked Rabbitfish White-spotted Rabbitfish



Most people aren't aware that queenfishes have venomous spikes on their back, infront of the dorsal fin. The spines points out sideways which makes it very easy to get pricked by them when handling with bare hands. The stings are very painful and can last quite awhile.

Talang Queenfish Venomous spines



Catfishes are very common in Singapore waters, they can be found in both salt and fresh water, almost anywhere you fish. They are vey good at adapting and surviving in harsh conditions. Catfishes' defense is its venomous spines found attached infront of its pectoral fins and dorsal fins. Some species of eeltail catfishes do not have dorsal spines though. The sting can be very painful though not fatal, the area of wound may swell quite badly. If you want to keep the catfish, snap away all the spines(at its base) with a pair of pliers.

Marine Catfish Eeltail Catfish



Ah pufferfish, annoying aren't they. They never know when to quit and just keep coming and coming, stealing your baits and severing your lines. They are known for their ability to inflate themselves to scare off predators and making them too large too swallowed. Certain species can be eaten if carefully and professionally gutted, although you're much safer not trying them at all. They contain a lethal toxin (tetrodotoxin) in their internal organs, which can be fatal if consumed. Trace amounts of these toxins are known to have secreted from their body, so if you handled pufferfish with your bare hands, be sure to wash them afterwards just to be safe. Also, keep your fingers away from their mouth, their parrot-like beaks are very powerful and large puffers have the ability to sever your fingers.


Pufferfish's mouth Pufferfish's teeth


Moray Eels

There are a few species of Morays found around Singapore waters. One of the most common and annoying one is the Estaurine Moray; you know...the one with lots of mucus and coils itself onto your line and ruining your rig. In addition to the annoyance, we should be careful of bites from morays. They have fangs pointing inwards which means a strong grip when they bite.

Moray eel Moray Eel's fang



Needlefishes are often seen swimming near water surface hunting for other smaller fishes like halfbeaks. Their long beak and teeth helps puncture and immobilize its prey. As can be seen from the picture below, the teeth are much like those a crocodile. A bleeding wound is guaranteed if you get biten by one of these, so don't get your hands near its beak. There had been a local case of a boy who got speared by the beak of a needlefish and subsequently died. This was probably an accident because needlefishes do leap out of water when chasing prey or in attempt to escape from danger. Nonetheless, it's something we should be aware of, you never know when you will need dodge of these 'flying needles'.

Needlefish Needlefish's teeth


Bristle Worm

These worms have needle-like hairs or bristles on its back and are venomous. They swim by wriggling themselves in the water but often let themselves drift along with the tidal current. If you happen to hook up one of these worms, it's likely not by accident but due to the worm trying to eat your bait. Their mouth can stretch wide enough to swallow prey of their own size. Don't even think about handling this worm with your bare hands, even a light brush across the worm will cause the bristles be attached onto your hand. It'll definitely hurt and if you get stung, it's often more than once at a time.

Bristle worm Bristle worm


Sea lice

Sea lices are parasites commonly found on fishes, clinging tightly on the fishes' body with their powerful hook-like grip. You may sometimes find them inside the fishes' mouth, gripping on their tongue. They feed on the fishes' blood and is almost impossible for the fish to remove the lice on its own. They can be quite mobile in water but quite helpless once they're out of water. But you don't want those things to grip onto you, and they do bite.

Sea Lice Sea Lice's legs



Jellyfishes can be found throughout our waters solitary or in large numbers. Although they have the ability to move on their own, they travel to where the sea current take them. There are many species of jellyfish and many are translucent or near invisible. This makes it dangerous for people who tread in water along shores, for most jellyfishes can be hard to spot and they have venomous sting on their tentacles that can inflict pain and even paralysis. Although it is uncommon that jellyfishes can end up on our lines and hook, it is possible for them to get caught on anchor ropes. Boatman retrieving their anchors should take note.

Jellyfish Jellyfish

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