We have all heard that nature is beautiful; that Hawaii is blessed with wonderful wildlife, pristine beaches and rare splendor.
This is all true of course. Nature is cool and wildlife is super cute, when it’s in the form of a fluffy kitten, a chubby puppy or even a precocious lion cub. But, nature and wildlife can also be terrifying.
The world is full of teeth and claws and stingers and things that scuttle and inject venom in the night. Fortunately, as a tidbit of Hawaiian trivia – there aren’t a million predators on the island. But, there are certainly some that will leave you sweating.
From sharks popping out the water to spiders the size of Pluto, here is a collection of Hawaii’s wildest wildlife that will stop you dead in your tracks, out of sheer fear (or wonder).
Sharks Chewing Your Limbs Off
Ever since Steven Spielberg terrified us with his dead-eyed monstrous great white, we have never been able to look at sharks in the same light.
There’s something about those pointy noses…or maybe it’s the layers of razor sharp teeth, that we just don’t trust. Even those YouTube videos, a while ago, showing some MANIAC rubbing a shark’s belly just didn’t cut the mustard.
They are the serial killers of the sea.
And, they are all over Hawaii. To be fair, Hawaii has a ton of sharks, but not all of them are the bad guys. Great Whites are the ones to watch (yup it was one of those guys that took a chunk out of Bethany Hamilton). They are the ones that can smell blood a mile off.
But, with over forty species of sharks in the crystal clear and gorgeously warm waters, (fun fact about Hawaii there for you) this shouldn’t keep you on dry land. Attacks are often a case of mistaken identity, so try and look less like a seal, will you please?
In case you needed any more tips on not getting eaten by a shark…
Humpback Whales Smashing You in the Face
We are wild about whales. Ever since Captain Ahab set out across the sea in search of Moby Dick, we have been blindsided by the gentle giants of the sea.
Whales are awesome. They are mammoth mammals that sing like ethereal angels and spray water out of their heads. How are we still letting people kill these guys???
Taking a whale watching tour in Hawaii is at the top of everybody’s list. Seriously, just google it and the results go wild. We prefer swimming with turtles much better. It’s just one of those cool things about Hawaii. The magic of watching these creatures in their natural habitat is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Yet, at the same time as feeling exquisite awe, you are sure to also feel terrified, lest one of these beasts flips out of the water or fans their tail too close to the boat. For some reason, none of us can forget the tale of Jonah…or are forever haunted by that scene in Pinocchio.
Jellyfish Making You Pee All Over Yourself
Another fun, or terrifying tidbit of information on Hawaii…eight days after a full moon, the beaches lining the south side of Hawaii suddenly become home to wobbling blobs, called jellyfish.
The name sounds harmless, but, as you might know, one strike from these seemingly innocuous beasts and you will be howling like someone jammed a fiery poker in a very private part of your anatomy.
Jellyfish almost seem to be nature’s joke. They have been around forever and, if you get stung by one – the quickest way to stop the pain is to actually pee all over yourself. This can prove difficult, for many reasons, especially if you get struck in a place that you can’t quite reach with a stream of urine.
In that case – you need to get someone else to pee on you.
Which is even worse. Don’t believe us on the pee thing – check it out on our Molokini Snorkeling adventure.
Oops, our bad.
Most jellyfish in Hawaii are hurters. But, if you see a box jellyfish, then you should treat it the same as seeing Spielberg’s Great White. Seriously, those guys will strike you dead in seconds – so make sure to check water warnings before plunging in.
PS don’t worry, if box jellyfish are out, everyone will know. So, unless you live under a rock, you are sure to hear about it.
Cane Spiders as Big as Your Wardrobe
You may be one of those people who shrug nonchalantly at the sight of spiders, but the cane may make you do a double take.
These are spiders as big as a wardrobe, if your wardrobe is six inches in size of, course. Still, six inches is pretty big for a spider, especially ones that have giant fangs and love to run down their prey.
While these monstrous guys may look fierce, they will only bite if prodded and provoked. And, let’s face it, anyone who is dumb enough to prod something that looks like this probably deserves the bite.
They like to hang out in sugarcane fields, which means they are probably on a 24/7 sugar crash. Word of warning, if they do get into your zone, they have a habit of dashing out when it’s the dark, particularly when you need the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Odds are that they aren’t coming FOR you. They are more likely trying to dash away from you. Be kind. You don’t want this hairy beasts blood on your hands.
Don’t want nightmares? Check Out Our Maui Snorkel Tours!
Manta Rays from Outer Space
Alright, Manta Rays – lets hash this out once and for all.
While they may look absolutely mental and terrifying, they are actually no harm at all.
By now, you are probably screaming at your computer, “but what about that Australian dude who wrestled crocodiles and shouted a lot. Steve whatshisface, didn’t he die from a ray sting!”
That was a sting ray.
Manta’s are chillers, giant, 25 foot chillers. Sure, they are often called devilfish, but they don’t even have a stinger. And, they are filter feeders – meaning that you could never fit inside their tiny little mouth.
Simply put, if you see a Manta Ray, then let the wow factor overtake you, because it’s probably something that you won’t get to see again.
Here’s how to handle magical Manta’s in the water…
Hoary Bats Getting Tangled in your Hair
Now that we have all grown out of our teenage years, we should know that bats don’t get tangled in your hair and then bite down on your neck. Rather than be a Hawaiian state fact, that thought is just years of trauma from watching Dracula when we were too young!
Still, that doesn’t mean that a bat swooping down low isn’t enough to scare the bejesus out of you. Check out how scary these examples are at Animal Planet. They are still winged creatures of the night, after all. When you stop seeing them as blood sucking swoopers and start seeing them as cute little furry creatures with wings, then you stop being so prone to ducking and diving when walking down the street at night.
For some reason, we can’t seem to shake the memory that the bat species started Ebola, that they are rumored to be ridden with rabies and that they carry the secret disease of SARS, not to mention the fact that Dracula liked to disguise himself as one.
Remember; bats have awesome sonar systems, they are no more related to rodents than humans are and they are nature’s own natural bug zappers. So, without bats, we would probably be getting horrific diseases from mosquitos and other such insects.
Hurrah for bats.
PS here is an article that serves as a swift reminder that bats are actually our relatives…umm true story…