Barracuda

The Great Barracuda found here in the Caribbean can grow up to 6 feet in length. It has a large mouth containing two sets of razor-sharp teeth. There is a row of smaller teeth along the outside of the jaw and a larger set of dagger-like teeth within these. The closely set teeth have sharp edges used to tear the flesh of prey. The long needle-like teeth fit into holes in the opposing jaw, allowing the Barracuda to close its mouth. When the Barracuda grabs its prey, it swallows small victims whole, while larger prey is cut into pieces to be swallowed separately.

Barracuda are voracious predators, and they hunt using quick bursts of speed up to 30 miles per hour for surprise attacks on other fish. Great barracudas feed on many different types of fish such as jacks, grunts, groupers, snappers, small tunas, mullets, herrings, and anchovies. There are few predators that are large enough and fast enough to feed on adult great barracuda. Sharks, tuna, and goliath grouper have been known to eat small adult barracuda.

Barracuda have a fierce appearance, but they rarely attack humans, so you don’t have to worry as long as you don’t harass them. There have been only isolated cases where barracudas have bitten humans, and these incidents are rare and are believed to have been caused by bad visibility and mistaken identity. When attacks occur more often than not it is because a barracuda attempts to steal a fish from spear- fishermen. In these very uncommon cases the barracuda will stop after the first bite because humans are not a food source for them.

Inquisitive, bold, and curious, barracudas often have the unnerving habit of following divers and snorkelers. Since barracudas are also scavengers, they may mistake you for a large predator and follow you in the hopes of scavenging any remains of an attack on prey. If you don’t kill anything after a while, however, they will generally get bored and move on.

Barracudas like to watch. A Barracuda’s eyes are always open. Like most fish, it has no eyelids. Barracudas don’t sleep the way we do. They never close their eyes since they don’t have eyelids. The do, however, rest at night, swimming more slowly and going into a trace- like state.

Great barracuda have a lifespan of at least 14 years.

The great barracuda is featured in the Cartanza Senora and Hidden Valley Reef segments of Diving St. Thomas - Volume 1.


This website is a loving tribute to our fish and other sea life comrades and the gorgeous colorful sea world they inhabit.