Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday
Photo by Jim Abernethy
Barracuda, though scary in appearance with their razor sharp teeth, tend to stay away from humans. Shiny objects attract the barracuda’s attention. Because of that, they usually hunt fish with golden or silver scales. The upper part of their body is covered with scales that can be black, brown, grey or blue in color. The belly is always white. There are more than 20 different species of barracuda that range in size from less than 50cm to nearly 2 meters in length but regardless of the species, all barracuda have a similar elongated appearance, with a pointed head and powerful jaws, containing rows of razor sharp fang-like teeth used for eating larger prey. The lower jaw juts out past the upper jaw and both are filled with dozens of teeth. Some of the teeth of the great barracuda point backwards to prevent slippery fish from escaping once they are seized.
Barracuda can swim at 25 miles per hour which is useful both for hunting and for escaping from predators such as killer whales and sharks. Generally, adult barracudas are considered to be solitary when it comes to hunting, though young barracudas tend to gather in large ‘schools’, sometimes in hundreds or even thousands. Schooling offers the young fish protection from predators on the basis of safety in numbers. Often, when a predator attacks a school, the school will form a confusing ‘tornado’, preventing any one barracuda being fixed upon as prey in the eyes of the predator.