The Scariest Types of Fish in the World

Voting Rules
Vote up the most terrifying species of fish you hope to never encounter in the wild.

There aren't a lot of people who are afraid of fish, which is probably due to the fact that you really have to go swimming to run into one. That doesn't mean people aren't afraid of fish. In fact, there are some scary and dangerous fish species swimming in the waters near you right at this moment. Some of the scariest types of fish aren't necessarily dangerous to humans, but are simply ugly fish species we have a hard time looking at. Fear of fish that attack humans and those that simply look creepy is perfectly natural. So if you are afraid of fish, you have the ability to never meet one in the wild—just don't go in the water.

While sharks are of course fish, they're excluded from this list because they deserve one of their own! Even after excluding sharks, there are plenty of scary fish species lurking in the shallow waters and darkest depths of the ocean. Whether you are scuba diving or simply checking out your local aquarium, you may one day have the chance of seeing any of these scariest kinds of fish, but fear not! You can probably catch and eat them, but for some of them, the same could be said about them eating you...

Photo: Fact5

  • Tiger Fish
    Photo: YouTube
    227 VOTES

    Tiger Fish

    Size: There are a number of species of Tiger Fish, the largest of which can grow to around 155 lbs (70 kg).

    Location: Africa and South America.

    Distinguishing Features: Unlike most freshwater fish who didn't make a deal with the devil, these relatively large fish possess a row of sharp, fang-like teeth.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Not only do Tiger Fish have a neat row of large, fang-like teeth to grab hold of prey, they are incredibly strong. Because of their strength and nasty teeth, attacks on humans can end with some serious wounds. They probably won't be able to kill you, but running into one could result in a really nasty day.

    227 votes
  • Lamprey
    Photo: YouTube
    204 VOTES

    Size: 5" to 40" (13 to 100 cm).

    Location: Coastal ocean and fresh waters, though they have been found in the open ocean.

    Distinguishing Features: Lampreys are jawless parasitic fish that resemble eels.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Lampreys are prehistoric "living fossils" that have gone unchanged for millions of years. Their mouths do not possess jaws, but have rings of sharp conical teeth they use to latch onto their prey. They generally feed off of marine species, but could certainly swim up and latch onto a human if they were feeling bold and it has happened. They have become an invasive species in the North American Great Lakes, making them a serious pest for swimmers and fishermen alike.

    204 votes
  • Candiru
    Photo: YouTube
    232 VOTES

    Size: Some are very small, while others can grow up to 16" (40 cm) in length, but it's the small ones you have to worry about.

    Location: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

    Distinguishing Features: They have slender, translucent bodies, making them difficult to see in their native waters. They have small, bulbous spikes alongside their head, which makes them impossible to remove easily.

    Why You Should Be Scared: These little guys have the nasty habit of swimming up a person's urethra and lodging themselves in place, requiring surgery to remove them. To be fair to these little guys, most reports dating back to the 19th century are either suspect or controversial. The first documented case of the removal of a Candiru from a person's urethra occurred in 1997.

    232 votes
  • Stonefish
    Photo: YouTube
    199 VOTES

    Size: 14" to 20" (35 to 50 cm).

    Location: Coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific.

    Distinguishing Features: Relatively squat bodies and coloring patterns, which help them blend into their surroundings... they look like innocuous rocks right up until you step on them.

    Why You Should Be Scared: Stonefish are some of the most venomous fish on the planet. Their venom is not only potentially lethal, but also extremely painful. A bite can result in death if left untreated, which makes them incredibly dangerous. There have been few noted fatal incidents, which is good seeing as people step on these things all the time. Stonefish have the nasty ability to blend into their surroundings. Pair that with their enjoyment of warm, shallow waters and people introduce their feet to their painful barbs far more often than they might prefer. Unlike most fish, they can survive out of water for up to 24 hours, which has led to people stepping on them or picking them up on dry land thinking them to be simple rocks.

    199 votes
  • Northern Stargazer
    Photo: Wikipedia
    187 VOTES

    Northern Stargazer

    Size: Around 22" (56 cm) in length.

    Location: Eastern seaboard of the United States.

    Distinguishing Features: They bury themselves in sand and wait for prey to come along.

    Why You Should Be Scared: These ugly little buggers aren't too dangerous to humans, but their prevalence for burying themselves in sand means many a beachgoer's wandering foot has come into contact with some nasty, sharp teeth! Not only does the Northern Stargazer's bite cause pain and tissue damage, it has electric organs, which can generate and transmit an electric shock to its victims.

    187 votes
  • Red-Bellied Piranha
    Photo: Wikipedia
    187 VOTES

    Red-Bellied Piranha

    Size: 5" to 14" (12 to 35 cm).

    Location: Amazon Basin.

    Distinguishing Features: They have incredibly sharp, strong teeth and a powerful jaw, which allows them to bite off nice little bits from their prey.

    Why You Should Be Scared: When it comes to freshwater fish you know to avoid, the Piranha usually tops the list. While a single individual isn't necessarily a danger to humans, they rarely travel alone. When they get to feeding, a school of piranha can strip the flesh off a fully-grown cow in very short order, though many stories about their ravenous behavior has been sensationalized by the news media. They generally feed only at night so it's probably a good rule or thumb not to swim in their habitat after the sun goes down.

    187 votes