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Symptoms and Signs of Marine Animal Bite

Doctor's Notes on Marine Animal Bite

The signs and symptoms of marine animal bites depend on the fish or animal that bites; consequently, anyone bitten should try to identify the type of fish or animal, time of injury and circumstances of the attack. Signs and symptoms of bites are cuts, abrasions, lacerations and puncture wounds. Some bites include significant tissue loss (shark bite) and may be life-threatening. Within 24 hours, some bites become infected and may show warmth, pus production, red streaks, lymph node swelling, fever and pain with joint movements. Most bites should be seen by a medical caregiver.

The cause of a fish or marine animal’s bite may be a defense response if threatened or agitated, self-preservation (hooked or speared) and mistaking a human for its normal prey.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.