Hello there! People call me the Great Barracuda and I live in the S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa. Let’s be best friends.
Hope you are not put off by my eager demeanour. Truth is, I don’t have a lot of friends. My mean appearance, from my large head to my agape mouth adorned with pointy sharp teeth, doesn’t do me any favours. While some of my distant relatives (other species of Barracuda) are less than a foot long, I can grow up to 1.8m long and weigh as much as 45kg.
And more often than not, my ‘friends’ end up in my stomach. I really can’t help it. I come from a family of voracious predators and we are known as eating machines; hunting is in my DNA. Over time, I’ve developed a highly efficient body that is elongated and slender, perfect for sneaking through reefs when I hunt and I can swim as fast as 55km/h. Though you usually see me in my natural silvery green appearance, I can change shades to match the environment, very much like a chameleon, before striking. I guess that’s why my friendships are usually short lived.
My friends (read: diet) are mainly fishes, octopuses and shrimps. No fish is too big for me because my large mouth and sharp teeth enable me to chop them in half. A particular favourite of mine is the silver fish as I am personally attracted to reflective and metallic objects. There was once when I mistook a diver’s earring as a silver fish, luckily I managed to stop myself. Otherwise, someone might have lost an ear.
When I was younger, I used to hang out a lot with my other family members, playing around and making other friends at mangroves, estuaries and shallow sheltered inner reef areas. But we all got busy with our own lives and eventually grew apart. And just like humans, we eventually move out of the “house” once we grow older. Now, I swim alone in murky harbours or the open seas.
I hope we can hang out sometime, it will be fun. And I promise not to sink my teeth into you, I swear. Look for me at the Open Ocean Habitat at the S.E.A. Aquarium. See you real soon.
Next week, catch my buddy, the Hermit Crab, in action.
Diet: Fishes, shrimps, octopuses
Size: Up to 1.8m
Weight: Up to 9kg
Family name: Sphyraenidae