The famous saltwater predator fish – the great Barracuda! Known for having a whole load of intimidating and razor-sharp teeth, you would be forgiven for thinking these fish are extremely dangerous (as they certainly look it).
In this article though, we look at Barracuda teeth in more detail to see exactly how much of a danger they truly present to humans. Are Barracudas scary-looking but harmless? Or are barracuda teeth a clear indication of how dangerous they really are?
Barracuda Teeth Facts
How many teeth do Barracuda Have?
There is no set number for exactly how many teeth barracuda have but most will have over 100. Usually, the bigger the Barracuda, the more teeth it will have with some possibly even having 200 teeth lining their jaws.
Barracuda teeth are separated into different rows with each row being used for a different purpose. Barracuda actually have one row of teeth on their bottom jaw, and two rows on their top jaw.
The teeth in the outer row are small and almost saw-like. They are used for sawing off chunks of flesh or ripping smaller fish apart. The outer row teeth are much smaller than the inner row but they are certainly very effective at what they do.
Barracuda teeth found in the inner row are much larger teeth and are the biggest teeth of the fish. They are straight teeth that point straight down (other animals have hooked teeth but Barracuda teeth are more like spears). The inner row is used to grab and hold on to fish the barracuda is hunting.
Inner row Barracuda teeth are known to be between one and one and a half inches in length. Another intimidating point about Barracuda teeth is that if one is lost, the fish can simply grow a new one to replace it. This means a Barracuda’s mouth always has a full set of teeth ready to use.
If that wasn’t intimidating enough, Barracuda are a bit different from other toothed fish in that they have sockets in their jaws that their teeth fit into. This allows them to fully close their mouth and keep their sharp teeth hidden until they are ready to use them!
How Sharp Are Barracuda Teeth?
Barracuda teeth are very sharp! To give you some kind of idea of how sharp they are, Barracudas are sometimes referred to as the Tigers of the sea!
The teeth of a Barracuda are commonly called razor-sharp and they can actually help Barracuda catch and kill fish quite a lot bigger than the gap between its jaws.
Its sharp teeth are used alongside violent head shaking to break larger fish into smaller, digestible pieces.
How do Barracuda Feed?
Barracudas are carnivores so they eat a diet consisting of meat. Specifically, Barracudas are actually piscivorous which means they predominantly eat fish.
Common hunting targets for a Barracuda are small fish but they are known to hunt fish larger than themselves too.
Barracuda are opportunistic when it comes to hunting so, while they are more than capable of catching and killing their own food, they will also scavenge food from already dead animals.
When it comes to hunting, Barracudas use a ram feeding method. Once they spot their prey (Barracudas use their eyes much more than other predator fish by looking for the shine their prey gives off in the water), they swim at it at speeds of around 30mph and grab it with their sharp teeth.
This surprise attack normally happens fast and without the prey fish knowing how much trouble it’s actually in.
Once in the Barracuda’s mouth, the fish is then sliced up by the teeth and eaten.
How Big Can Barracuda Teeth Grow?
Barracuda teeth measuring in at one and a half inches have been reported so they can certainly grow some very big teeth. Although most will have teeth less than an inch in length, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see some very large Barracuda teeth.
Can Barracuda Bite Through Fishing Line?
Yes, Barracuda can bite through fishing line with relative ease. Their sharp teeth are designed to cut and rip through fish flesh and bone so fishing line doesn’t always pose too much of a challenge for a Barracuda.
Even a thick mono line will likely fail to prevent the sharp teeth of a Barracuda from slicing straight through it.
A good option tends to be a solid single-strand line of about 40-50lb test. This should be enough to keep your line in one piece and safe from the powerful Barracuda teeth.
Do Barracuda Attack Humans?
While a Barracuda could cause a fairly substantial cut to a human, it’s very rare that they would intentionally try to attack humans.
As humans are so large compared to even the biggest Barracuda, they realize that we are not a suitable choice for prey. That being said, there have been some cases of Barracudas attacking humans although numbers are exceptionally low with only 25 attacks being reported in the last 100 years.
In almost all of these incidents, the Barracuda probably mistakenly thought the human was a larger prey fish, but realized after a quick bite that this wasn’t the case, or they were attracted to the shine from a watch, diving mask, or similar as this is one of the things they look for in their prey.
Barracuda teeth are sharp and can cause damage to humans. They won’t intentionally target a human but it’s worth avoiding doing anything that could provoke an attack, as it probably won’t be a pleasant experience being on the receiving end of Barracuda teeth.
Could a Barracuda Kill a Human?
Technically yes although it is extremely unlikely.
If a Barracuda bite caused someone to bleed heavily, then blood loss could lead to death. Infections could also play a part in any fatal Barracuda attack too.
However, most humans would be able to fend off a Barracuda with relative ease. Punching or kicking the fish will probably be more than enough to scare it away and, as a lot of divers carry knives with them, Barracudas are likely to be in more danger from us than we are from them.
Barracudas don’t tend to approach humans too much either although they are known to follow divers around sometimes. This is usually because they think they might be able to steal a meal off you as it might mistake you for a large predator, or it could be attracted to something shiny you have with you.
A lot of the time, Barracudas will simply avoid humans and won’t be brave enough to approach them. It’s always a good idea to be mindful of any animal when entering their domain – particularly if they are a large fish with large and very sharp teeth!