snorkeler in shallow water near a poisonous stonefish in the Red Sea
When you snorkel around in the Red Sea, you can safely enjoy everything you see. As long as you do not try to touch anything. – Not even the “dead” bottom or “dead” rocks. They might very well be alive!
Scorpion fish and Stonefish are not easy to see! So, be aware when putting your feet down. Even in the shallow water. It is thus recommended that you always use some kind of shoes or fins to protect yourself when entering or getting out of the water.
Clearfin lionfish with poisonous spines in the Red Sea
The very spiny Lionfish is not inviting you to pet it. And do not try to! They know that their spines are unpleasant, and if you come too near, they will stretch thieir spines towards you …
Bluespotted stingray usually hang out on the sandy bottom in the Red Sea
If you are familiar with flat fish, you may consider touching the rays. BUT the Bluespotted Stingray can – as the name hints – sting! On the base of the tail they have a spine, and they are quick at whipping this towards you if you come too near.
Stellate rabbitfish looks as any other innocent fish, but has spines, that can cause a painful wound.
But it goes for all of the poisonous fish, that they are not agressively trying to get to you. It is a self-defense mechanism, they will turn to, if YOU get too near. If you come within a certain distance, they see you as a threat to them. The poisonous spines are a “attack-is-the-best-self-defence” tactic in these species. All the other animals know this (or will quickly learn it the hard way!), so they are used to, that larger animals stay clear.
While snorkeling you may be lucky to encounter on of the four species of sea turtles present in the red sea. There are four species present in the red sea, but you will probably only get to see one or two of them while snorkeling: Hawksbill and the green turtle
The Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) is not an uncommon sight along the reef. As the name implies it has a beak that bare resemblance to a bird’s beak.
The Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is larger and likes to grass on the submerged meadows of seagrass in bay areas.
The leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) is the biggest and is a rare sight.
The olive-ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is in turn the smallest of the sea turtels and prefers the ocean to the costal waters and is therefor not likely to be seen while snorkeling.
All of the turtles are on the International Red List maintained by IUCN Leatherback and hawksbill turtles are critically endangered while green and loggerhead turtles are listed as endangered and olive-ridley turtle is liested ad vunerable.
Se more at the Turtles of the Red Sea project.
And the turtle on the picture? Yes, your’re right. It’s a green turtle. Photographed in AbuDabab bay.
THere are many types of coral, but here are a few that you’ll recognise:
1- Brain coral
2- finger coral