MARINE & FRESHWATER LIFE

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     Reaction to outside stimuli causes one to fight, freeze, or flee. If you were confronted by an armed robber with a pistol, your reaction would be to choose fight, flight, or freeze.You might lunge at the robber in the attempt to get their weapon (fight). You might run out a nearby open door and than down the hallway hoping to avoid getting shot as the escape is made (flight). You might just stand there with your arms in the air hoping no further action will be taken (freeze).

     With most land animals we come to expect they will freeze or flee upon the approach of a human. They are defensive. Do you know what it would be like if white-tailed deer, commonly found in the northeast part of the United States, commonly went into a fight mode when approached by a human being. We expect deer to run from us and then possibly stop after going a short distance. This flight and freeze is expected and allows one to walk calmly through the woods. We expect animals to be defensive. And, on the rare occasion when they do become offensive (fight) it is because of unusual circumstances such as being cornered, defending their young, etc.

     Underwater it is the same. Most marine life generally do not attack. For the most part they are defensive and will either stay in place or flee when approached. But, they are defensive. So, if a Moray Eel sees your hand entering his rock den a wound might be inflicted. If you load the water with blood from spearfishing, the appetite of predators might be wetted promoting a food-seeking attack. If you go to the surface and make splashing noises with your fins, simulating a wounded fish, you might be inviting a fight mode. If you wear jewelry underwater that resembles a fishing lure you may end up as a human fishing pole. If you start dropping chunks of coral on sharks below you may get more than you bargained for.

     Now it is not implied that all attacks of life on man are the result of man's aggressive behavior. Some of them are the result of the species being hungry or defending their young from what was perceived to be aggressive behavior. A diver gathering balls and then being eaten by an alligator in a Florida golf course pond may have nothing to do with aggression by the diver to the gator.

     In all the dives this author has made in the Caribbean and Florida, and all the sharks, barracuda, and other wild life seen, there has never been an instance were the situation seemed threatening. But, then again, when I go to visit a neighbor I ring the doorbell and don't just kick in the back door!

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