10 Most Dangerous Fish in Singapore

Besides enjoying the fun during fishing, remember to always prioritise your safety first before anything else! These are the 10 fishes you should be aware of. In the list below, we have ranked from the least to the most dangerous fish.

Of the estimated 1,200 venomous fish species on Earth, the stonefish (Yes it is found in Singapore) is the most lethal with enough toxin to kill an adult human in under an hour. Thankfully, effective anti-venoms are available, though these need to administer quickly to prevent severe symptoms like tissue necrosis, paralysis and heart failure.

1. Bristle Worm

Bristleworms are often found in tidal waters under rocks and corals in tropical areas throughout the world. They are one of the most dangerous species of bristleworms (there are over 10,000 species). Bristleworms are elongated segmented worms. Each segment contains a pair of bristles.

Although bristleworms are not aggressive, they bite when handled, and the bristles can penetrate skin (sting). The spines penetrate the skin like cactus spines and can be difficult to remove, and usually cause pain, burning sensation, redness, swelling, and rash

The good news is that, the spines do not have any associated venom-producing cells so there is no fear of additional "venom" being released with the removal of the spines. Use heavy gloves if handling these worms is necessary.

2. Catfish
Painful when Stung by the 3 Fins!

How To Hold A Catfish by Irfan

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.

3. Queenfish

Photo credits: SGFishingRigz_QueenFish

Queenfishes contain poisonous spikes on their backs, in front of the dorsal fin, which the majority of people are unaware of. When handled with bare hands, the spines' sideways orientation makes it exceedingly simple to get pricked by them. The stings can persist for a long time and are extremely unpleasant. 

A stung by it can cause you burning pain for hours. So always avoid to hold on it back. Even if the fish is dead. Especially the small baby queen fish that can be caught by tamban jig.

4. Scats Fish


Photo credits: SGFishingRigz_ScatsFish

Scats are frequently observed in brackish environments, such as swamps and river mouths. They are excellent fighters and will eat just about everything. Just pay attention to the dorsal fins' and ventral rough poisonous spines, which contain cells that produce venom with toxic activities. If you try and grasp it, it will fully extend its spines, so make sure you have a firm grip on the fish. Even though the venom is minimal, it can still induce painful wounds in injured hand with partial paralysis to whom that touch the spines.

5. Rabbitfish
Excruciating Pain when Poke by the Poison Spines

Photo credits: SGFishingRigz_RabbitFish

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.

6. Moray Eel

A Moray Eel spotted at Bedok Jetty

Photo credits: SGFishingRigz_MorayEel

Around Singapore waterways, a few different species of morays can be found. The Estaurine Moray, the one that coils itself onto your line and wrecks your gear, is one of the most prevalent and nasty ones. In addition to the irritation, we need watch out for moray bites. They can bite with a powerful grip because their fangs point inside.

7. Stingray
Dangerous Barb at Tail

A huge stingray caught at Bedok Jetty

Photo credits: SGFishingRigz_Stingray

This fish is very common all round Singapore waters, from deep waters to shallow beaches. Stingrays generally aren’t dangerous in fact, they have a reputation for being gentle. They often burrow beneath the sand in the shallows and swim in the open water. Stingrays will usually only sting when disturbed or stepped on by unaware swimmers or caught by anglers. When a stingray is landed it tends to whip its tail around which not only can cause extreme pain due to the whip however, there is a chance that you can be punctured by the barb. 

A stingray’s tail is long, thin, and tapered, much like a whip. At the end of the tail are one or more barbed spines covered by a sheath. Each spine contains venom, and the stingray’s tail can pack a powerful, incredibly painful sting.

If the barb has punctured your throat, neck, abdomen, or chest, or has pierced completely through part of your body, don’t attempt to remove it. Seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Many anglers that have a very minnow puncture or slice from the barb will opt to squeeze the blood out of the area as it can relieve the pain as anglers hope that there will be less venom in the area. 

8. Blue-Ringed Octopus

Below, A Blue Ringed Octopus Spotted at Pulau Hantu

(Photo Credits: Robert Tan MRT-atis YouTube)

Even though the blue ring octopus is not only extremely rare in Singapore, it is also rare to get bitten however, if bitten it can easily be fatal. The blue ring octopus is known as one of the most dangerous sea creatures on the planet. They generally live in tide pools and shallow reefs so do be careful when you are wondering around these areas. 

​​While blue-ringed octopuses have extremely toxic venom, they don't make it themselves. They use bacteria they find in the ocean and store it in their salivary glands. The bacteria secrete a toxin called tetrodotoxin, or TTX. It then uses its beak to make a hole in its prey's shell to spit the saliva in it. ‌

The toxin in the saliva paralyzes the prey while the blue-ringed octopus eats it. The TTX that a blue-ringed octopus injects is so deadly that 1 milligram of it can kill a human. It's one of the most potent toxins on earth, and there is no antidote.

​​If you are bitten by a blue-ringed octopus, seek medical help immediately. If you are with someone who is bitten, you should:

  • Call emergency an hotline immediately.
  • Make sure the bitten person is still, it is best if you can get them to lie down
  • Apply an elastic bandage to the bitten area.
  • Bandage the entire limb. Wrap it just like you wrap an ankle for a sprained ankle. 

9. Puffer Fish

Photo credits: SGFishingRigz_PufferFish

They simply keep coming and coming, taking your baits and cutting your lines because they never know when to give up. They are renowned for their capacity to inflate themselves in order to frighten away predators and make themselves too big to be ingested. Certain species can be eaten if they are carefully and expertly gutted, although it's much safer to avoid doing so.

Pufferfish are known for producing a lethal poison called tetrodotoxin especially in their liver and ovaries. The severity of this poison varies from species to species. Some can be fatal if ingested. If you handled pufferfish with your bare hands, be careful to wash them afterwards just to be safe because it is known that trace amounts of these toxins have leaked from their bodies. Additionally, their powerful beaks, which resemble those of parrots, and big puffers have the potential to sever your fingers.

10. Scorpion Fish (Stone Fish)

Photo credits: SGFishingRigz_StoneFish

Another fish that can sting you painfully is the scorpion fish. You shouldn't play around with this fish cause, if untreated, its sting can be fatal. Its head is covered in several tiny venomous spikes, and its dorsal fin is covered in a row of venomous spines. 

Among them, the Stone Fish (Synanceja horrida) is probably the most feared, for its sting has been known to cause human deaths. The dorsal spines along its back are linked to glands packed with lethal venom, and even a slight brush with them can result in excruciating pain for the victim. Stonefishes are predatory fish adapted for living on the seabed.

The hollow-cheeked stonefish is the species that lives on our coastlines here in Singapore (Synanceia horrida). It can be found frequently on rocky locations with sandy substrate, coral debris, and reef flats. Despite the fact that the majority of the specimens found are somewhat smaller, it has been known to grow as long as 30 centimeters.

The reef stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa), a different species, has been observed in Singapore. Divers frequently see this species in numerous locations throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Please wear protective footwear and, more importantly, pay attention to your step when walking on reef flats. Avoid stepping on rocks without first looking for stonefish, which resembles coral rocks covered in algae. On reef flats, there are a variety of other scorpion fish, each of which is capable of giving a painful sting if trodden on by accident. Never use fabric or bare hands to handle this fish. For your own safety, use a pair of long-nose pliers. Although you really need to be careful handling it, this fish can be eaten. 

In Summary

What is the number 1 most dangerous fish in the world?
Stonefish. The deadliest & most venomous fish in the world is the stonefish. Stonefish are around 14 to 20 inches long and the same in width due to their extremely wide pectoral fins. Through its dorsal fin spines, the stonefish can inject a venom that is capable of killing an adult person in less than an hour.

Which fish is most poisonous?
Puffer fish are the most poisonous fish in the world.

What fish can paralyze you?
The liver from a pufferfish, also known as fugu, is considered a delicacy in Japan. But eating it is risky, as the fish's liver contains a high concentration of a deadly poison known as tetrodotoxin (TTX), which causes paralysis if ingested.

Hence...

In Jetty areas such as Bedok Jetty, common fishes such as Catfish and Queenfish caught by anglers poses the least threat among the 9. They still can cause major discomfort, though.

Following up are the Scat Fish, Rabbit Fish and Moray Eel, these 3 with their poisonous fangs and bites will definitely ruin your trip once mishandled without extra care.

The last 3 sea monsters, Stingray, Blue-ringed Octopus and Stonefish are those mafias whom you do not want to mess with. A mere touch of the venom, or the huge whip that lands on you could easily cause heavy injury and even death.

Regardless of the severity of injury caused by these fishes, please seek medical care immediately to prevent potential infections and further discomfort.

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