Small burrfish gives diver a moment of terror
Burrfish are a member of the Porcupinefish family. They are very unique creatures, with some very unusual defense mechanisms. They do not swim quickly or gracefully and they appear quite clumsy in the water. Fortunately, they do not need to be agile or quick because they are able to discourage predators by rapidly gulping air or water in order to inflate to almost three times their usual size. They also have sturdy spikes on their skin which protrude outward when they inflate. The result is that they are almost impossible for a predator to swallow.
As if this were not enough, the Burrfish is also highly toxic, containing enough neurotoxin to easily kill more than 10 grown men. This neurotoxin is found within the organs and skin of the Burrfish. It is risky to touch one of these fish and deadly to eat one.
The Burrfish has a small mouth, but it can still inflict a nasty bite. In fact, its larger cousin, the Porcupinefish, has been known to cause severe damage if provoked. In one well known encounter, a Porcupinefish amputated the finger of a diver who was lacking caution.
This Burrfish was found swimming along over the reef by a diver who was involved in a group night dive. The divers were using bright lights due to the complete darkness and the Burrfish was quite happy to swim in front of the diver in order to eat the small creatures that were attracted by the light. The scuba diver was very aware of the fact that the Burrfish was not as harmless as he appears and was keeping a respectful distance. The Burrfish made a sudden dash directly at the light, bouncing off the diver's hand and face, startling the diver and causing more than a little bit of alarm. The diver's light bounces around as he tries to keep the terrifying little monster away from him.
Within a few moments, the drama is over and the Burrfish scurries away triumphantly with his meal, leaving one very flustered and startled scuba diver. Who would have guessed that such a tiny fish could strike such fear?! In reality, the diver was never really in any danger and he was certainly not being attacked. The fish was simply doing what he was meant to do.