If you thought you wouldn’t come across any water monsters in our province, you’re wrong. In our fresh and salt waters there are indeed animals that look frightening or can cause nasty injuries. Lotte Uittenbogaard from Rijsenhout was slightly injured last Tuesday by an attack by a predatory fish. NH Nieuws lists the most dangerous and terrifying aquatic animals.

    1: Toxic weever 🐟

    The small but vicious weever is conquering more and more ground in our North Sea. The sea critters can be found more often in our waters, because the average temperature in the sea has risen by almost two degrees. The poisonous critters of less than ten centimeters can cause problems for beach visitors. The ‘monster’ can sting and that is even more painful than a wasp sting. According to Ecomare biologist Pierre Bonnet, more and more reports are being made about the sea creature. “The little weever was a rarity fifteen years ago. The most used argument for their advance is climate change. With warm weather, the weever moves north,” the biologist tells NH Nieuws.

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    Pieterman – KNRM

    The weever is mainly found in countries such as Spain and Morocco. He is buried in the water with his head just above the sand. In the murky waters of the North Sea, it is therefore virtually invisible. Anyone who steps on it runs the risk of being stung. “A very unpleasant turn of your holiday.”

    Stung by a weever, now what?

    Weever’s venom can cause swelling and throbbing. It won’t kill you, but if you’re sensitive to it, it can make you sick for a week.

    The best thing to do with a sting is to keep the wound above 40 degrees in a bowl of water. Hot water causes the venom’s proteins to coagulate, rendering the venom inactive. Then smear with ointment such as betadine and put a bandage on it.

    2: Biting pike

    But monstrous fish can also be found in ditches and lakes. It doesn’t happen often that a pike attacks a human. Yet it happened to Lotte Uittenbogaard (20) from Rijsenhout.

    It happened when she was paddling with an acquaintance on a jetty at the Westeinderplassen in Aalsmeer around eight o’clock. “After a few minutes I felt a kind of bite in my foot.” A photo of Lotte’s foot clearly shows the minor injuries. “It started bleeding right away, it looks like teething.”

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    The teeth of a pike – NH Nieuws

    It is probably a pike or a pike-perch. Pike often look frightening with their large mouths full of 700 sharp teeth. These fish can also reach a length of up to one meter in length. Usually, pike are in areas with many aquatic vegetation, tunnels, bridges or other interruptions of the water.

    The chance of being bitten by a pike is very small. Moreover, the pike does not eat human meat and in very exceptional situations the pike will only bite when it is in a panic or, according to Axel Gunderson, researcher at the Haarlemmermeerse Bosplas, is triggered by glittering objects. “Someone from the association once had a pike attack her diving mask. I even saw a pike attack the glittering pressure gauge on my diving buddy’s diving equipment.”

    “If pikes lie in front of you and start to yawn, turn away too and respect their space.” Why would a pike or zander grab a foot? “If you lightly kick in the water with your feet, you get bubbles that also shimmer,” explains the researcher.

    Afraid of the pike or bitten?

    If you get caught by a pike, pull then especially your foot or hand do not immediately return. The teeth are in your skin and you don’t want to cause even deeper scratches. You have to stay calm and still until he lets go.

    After the bite, you should check if there is any dirt in your wound and if there is, you should rinse it immediately. After that, you need to disinfect the wound.

    If you have become a bit afraid of the 700 sharp teeth, make sure you watch out for tunnels, bridges and aquatic plants right along the side. In clear water, always check first if there is a fish or if something is slipping. “When I go swimming, I make sure that nothing glitters like car keys,” Gunderson explains.

    3: Catfish of almost two meters 🐋

    It loved residents and visitors to the Toolenburger Plas in Hoofddorp years ago doing well. In the summer a very large fish was spotted there.

    Underwater photographer Ron Offermans from Oostzaan went into the Toolenburgerplas together with a number of divers. One of the divers managed to make a nice video recording of the beast. When asked if it was intimidating to see the fish up close, a diver replies, “If it comes at you, yes. Sure. I did step aside for a bit.”

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    The catfish has been spotted!

    Even though this catfish looks monstrous, we don’t have to worry about a catfish attacking a human being. Adult catfish mainly eat fish, but other species are also on the menu, such as amphibians and waterfowl. The catfish has no teeth but uses a kind of beak plates with points directed backwards that feel like sandpaper.

    4: Bloodsucking sea lampreys

    This special animal has inhabited the world for millions of years and crawls in the sea and the rivers of our province. The sea lamprey, also called lamprey, is a jawless fish with a fearsome mouth and is also known as ‘the vampire of the sea creatures’. “Sea lampreys seem to have swum away from horror movies”, declared Ecomare agree to NH News.

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    Sea lampreys are parasites. The ‘vampire’ sucks on big fish with its mouth and small teeth to drink their blood, Ecomare explains. They also eat the skin and body fluids of, among others, cod, salmon, mackerel and even sharks. For those animals, such an attack by a sea lamprey can lead to death.

    Once its prey is dead, the sea lamprey lets go and starts looking for a new victim. The beasts owe their name to the nine holes on the side of their heads. The first hole is the nostril, the second the eye. The other seven holes are used for breathing.

    In 2016, during a mudflat excursion on Texel, participants of the excursion found this dangerous animal. Dangerous for the above-mentioned fish at least, because an attack by a sea lamprey on humans is unknown to our home biologist Stephan Roest. “I’ve never heard of a sea lamprey sucking on a human,” he reassures.

    5: Crayfish with vicious claws

    In recent years, there are increasingly American crayfish spotted in the Netherlands. The lobsters seem to like it especially in ‘t Gooi, where they are most often seen in the Netherlands. The animals are certainly harmless, but they look especially ‘scary’ with their large claws.

    Crayfish are small and generally not aggressive. Crayfish do have claws that they use to cut aquatic plants to eat and protect themselves. The claws of a lobster are small but sharp. As long as you don’t come into contact with the claws, crayfish are harmless. A crayfish will not use its claws on its own and cannot sting.

    The American crayfish does not originate in the Netherlands at all, but is advancing more and more. Because the beast has no natural enemies, it multiplies at lightning speed. Not everyone is happy about this, by the way: in many areas the animals are a real plague. They damage banks and affect water quality.

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    6: Biting boatswains, or: water wasps

    Finally, there is also the boatswain, also called backswimmers, and they can be found in every kind of fresh water. the boatswain be thankful body resembles an upside-down boat. The color is brown and the back is pink. It grows to about 1.5 cm.

    The boatswain is also called the water wasp. Because of the powerful jaws you better stay away from it, because a bite can be very painful according to our wildlife reporter Stephan Roest. “That hurt for a while,” he says from his own experience.

    With a bite there is not much more you can do than wait for the pain to go away. If the pain does not go away, it is useful to call your doctor.

    Adobe Stock

    So there are some ‘water monsters’ to be found in our waters. Still, there is no reason to panic. As long as we treat the animals with respect, and take their habitat into account, they will also leave us alone. Because according to Roest, the biggest water monsters are: “humans.”

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