Poisonous fish are common on the reefs and underwater structures like wrecks, encounters with these creatures can result in serious if not fatal injury, Do you know what to do if it happens to someone with you?


The ‘opportunity’ to become a victim of poisoning from an encounter with one of the many poisonous fish populating the reefs we frequent, while scuba diving, is often under-estimated.


It is not uncommon to see a diver brushing carelessly against the reef within inches of a scorpion fish, or casually reaching out to grab a convenient piece of reef which is inches away from a cleverly disguised poisonous fish masquerading as a rock. Another scuba diver moving in for that real close-up of the moray eel cornered while the camera lense is shoved into its ‘face’.

I have seen numerous videos of hapless divers reaching out to touch the sea snake as it undulates past.

Then you have others, like me, who just don’t realise the creature packs a punch that isn’t just like a mule, it’s more like a pocket nuclear explosion – like the cone shell.

Until I realised how dangerous they can be, I used to pick the empty shells up to have a look at them, not too worried if it turned out to have a live creature still in the shell.

Undulate Moray eel

I have also had a couple of close calls with moray eels – too busy scanning the corals and reef underneath me to watch what was coming up in front of me (looked up to see a gaping moray with a mouth which seemed big enough to swallow my whole head without touching sides!), another occasion on a night dive, turning around to find another enormous moray inches away from my leg…..

All of this just demonstrates that my close calls aren’t unique and in fact are probably closer to being the norm and exactly why there are many injuries coming out of usual activities underwater.

It is important to, on the one hand be able to know which are the creatures to be careful of, and on the other what to do in the unfortunate event of coming off second best when coming up close and personal with one.

Clicking on the links below will take you to some detail of those creatures, the likely impact of being bitten or poisoned by them and what are the immediate steps to be taken in dealing with the envenomation that usually ensues.

Blue ringed octopus

Box Jellyfish

Cone shell

Moray eels

Deadly Jellyfish stings

Sea Snakes


Scorpion fish


Flower urchin



Hazardous marine life injuries

For more aspects of scuba diving like encounters with poisonous fish, click here