Dangerous Animals In Bora Bora – What To Watch Out For

Bora Bora, the jewel of French Polynesia, conjures images of a tropical paradise with crystal clear waters, swaying palm trees, and pristine white sand beaches. However, despite its idyllic reputation, there are a few dangerous animals that call the island home.

If you’re visiting Bora Bora soon, read on to discover the creatures to be mindful of during your trip.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The main dangerous animals in Bora Bora are sharks, stingrays, stonefish, cone snails, scorpionfish, lionfish, sea urchins, jellyfish, Portuguese man o’ war, fire coral, and mosquitoes.


When it comes to dangerous animals in Bora Bora, sharks are often a topic of concern. However, it’s important to note that shark attacks are extremely rare and most species of sharks are not aggressive towards humans.

In fact, Bora Bora is home to several species of sharks, each with their own unique characteristics.

Blacktip Reef Sharks

One of the most common species of sharks you may encounter in Bora Bora is the blacktip reef shark. These sharks are typically found in shallow waters and are known for their distinctive black-tipped fins. They are relatively small in size, usually reaching around 5 to 6 feet in length.

Blacktip reef sharks are generally timid and pose little threat to humans. However, it’s important to maintain a safe distance and avoid any sudden or aggressive movements if you come across one.

Grey Reef Sharks

Grey reef sharks are another species that can be found in the waters around Bora Bora. These sharks are slightly larger than blacktip reef sharks, with an average length of 6 to 8 feet. While they are generally not aggressive towards humans, they can become territorial if they feel threatened.

It’s advisable to stay calm, avoid making any sudden movements, and give them space if you encounter a grey reef shark during your visit to Bora Bora.

Tiger Sharks

Tiger sharks are considered one of the most dangerous species of sharks due to their size and feeding habits. They can grow up to 15 feet in length and are known for their powerful jaws and ability to consume a variety of prey.

While tiger shark encounters are extremely rare in Bora Bora, it’s important to exercise caution if you come across one. It’s advisable to stay out of the water if a tiger shark is spotted nearby and notify the local authorities.

Precautions to Take

While the likelihood of a shark encounter in Bora Bora is minimal, it’s always important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Swim in designated areas where there is a presence of lifeguards.
  • Avoid swimming alone, especially in remote areas.
  • Do not swim at dawn or dusk, as these are peak feeding times for sharks.
  • Refrain from wearing shiny jewelry or brightly colored clothing, as they may attract sharks.
  • Stay informed about any shark sightings or warnings issued by local authorities.

Remember, sharks play a vital role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems. By respecting their natural habitat and following these precautions, you can enjoy a safe and memorable experience in the waters of Bora Bora.


When visiting Bora Bora, one of the captivating creatures you may encounter in the crystal-clear waters are stingrays. These graceful and intriguing creatures are a popular attraction for tourists. While they may appear harmless, it is important to be aware of the different types of stingrays that inhabit these waters and the precautions to take when interacting with them.

Cowtail Stingrays

The Cowtail Stingray, also known as the Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray, is one of the most commonly encountered stingrays in Bora Bora. These rays are typically found in shallow lagoons and are known for their distinctive blue spots on their bodies.

While their venomous barbs can be dangerous, they are usually not aggressive towards humans unless provoked.

It is important to maintain a respectful distance when observing these stingrays and avoid touching or stepping on them. If you do come into contact with a Cowtail Stingray, it is advisable to seek medical attention immediately to treat any potential injuries.

Eagle Rays

Eagle Rays are another type of stingray commonly found in the waters of Bora Bora. These magnificent creatures are known for their unique wing-like shape and graceful movements. While they are generally docile, it is important to exercise caution when swimming near them.

As with any wildlife encounter, it is important to respect their space and observe from a safe distance. Avoid touching or attempting to ride on the backs of these animals, as it can disrupt their natural behavior and potentially cause harm to both the ray and yourself.

Precautions to Take

When interacting with stingrays in Bora Bora, it is crucial to follow these precautions to ensure your safety and the well-being of the animals:

  • Listen to and follow the instructions of experienced guides or local authorities.
  • Do not feed the stingrays, as this can alter their natural behavior and lead to dependency on human interaction.
  • Avoid sudden movements or loud noises that may startle the stingrays.
  • Do not attempt to touch or handle the stingrays unless instructed to do so by a knowledgeable guide.
  • If stung by a stingray, seek medical attention immediately and apply first aid measures such as rinsing the wound with warm water.

For more information on stingrays and their behavior, you can visit National Geographic’s website. Remember, by respecting and appreciating these fascinating creatures from a safe distance, you can have an unforgettable experience while ensuring the conservation of Bora Bora’s marine life.


Bora Bora, with its crystal-clear waters and stunning marine life, is a paradise for divers and snorkelers. However, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers lurking beneath the surface. One such danger is the stonefish, a highly venomous creature that can pose a serious threat to humans.

Habitat and Appearance

The stonefish is a master of camouflage, blending seamlessly with its surroundings on the ocean floor. It can be found in shallow coastal waters, particularly in rocky areas or coral reefs. Its appearance is often mistaken for a rock or a piece of coral due to its rough, bumpy texture and mottled coloration.

This makes it incredibly difficult to spot, increasing the risk of accidental encounters.

Venom and Treatment

The stonefish is equipped with venomous spines on its back, which are capable of delivering a potent toxin. When stepped on or touched, the spines inject venom into the victim, causing excruciating pain and swelling.

In severe cases, the venom can lead to cardiovascular collapse or even death if left untreated.

If someone is stung by a stonefish, immediate medical attention is crucial. The affected area should be immersed in hot water (around 113°F or 45°C) to help alleviate the pain. It is important to seek professional medical assistance as soon as possible, as the venom requires specific antivenom treatment.

Precautions to Take

To avoid encounters with stonefish while enjoying the waters of Bora Bora, it is essential to take certain precautions. Firstly, it is advisable to wear sturdy footwear, such as reef shoes, when walking in shallow water or exploring rocky areas.

This will provide a barrier between your feet and the ocean floor, reducing the risk of accidental stings.

Additionally, it is important to exercise caution and be mindful of where you step or place your hands while snorkeling or diving. Avoid touching or disturbing any suspicious-looking objects on the ocean floor, as they may be stonefish or other dangerous creatures.

Lastly, staying informed about the local marine life and potential dangers is crucial. Consult with local dive operators or check reputable websites such as Lonely Planet or National Geographic for up-to-date information and guidance on how to stay safe while enjoying the beautiful waters of Bora Bora.

Cone Snails

Geographic Cone Snail

One of the dangerous animals to watch out for in Bora Bora is the Geographic Cone Snail. These snails are known for their beautiful shells and vibrant colors, but they also possess a deadly venom that can be fatal to humans.

The Geographic Cone Snail is found in the warm waters surrounding Bora Bora and is typically found in shallow reef areas.

These snails are expert hunters, using a powerful venomous harpoon to immobilize their prey. While they primarily feed on fish and other marine organisms, they can also harm humans if they feel threatened.

It is important to note that cone snails are not aggressive creatures and will only attack if provoked or handled.

Precautions to Take

When visiting Bora Bora, it is essential to take precautions to avoid encounters with cone snails:

  • Do not touch or handle cone snails. It is important to admire these creatures from a safe distance and avoid any direct contact. Their venomous harpoon can be discharged even after the snail has died, so it is crucial to exercise caution.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in shallow reef areas. Cone snails are typically found in these areas, and accidentally stepping on one can result in a painful sting. Wearing protective footwear, such as water shoes, can help reduce the risk of injury.
  • Follow local guidance and signage. Bora Bora is a popular tourist destination, and local authorities provide guidance and signage to ensure visitors’ safety. Pay attention to any warnings or instructions given by local experts.

It is also recommended to seek medical attention immediately if stung by a cone snail. Symptoms may include intense pain, swelling, numbness, and difficulty breathing. Prompt medical treatment can help mitigate the effects of the venom.

For more information on cone snails and other dangerous animals in Bora Bora, you can visit www.boraboraislandguide.com which provides comprehensive information on safety measures and local guidelines.

Other Marine Life

Aside from the well-known sharks and stingrays, Bora Bora’s waters are home to a variety of other fascinating marine creatures. It’s important to be aware of these animals and understand how to safely interact with them. Here are some of the other marine life you may encounter:


The scorpionfish, with its venomous spines, is one of the most dangerous creatures you may encounter while snorkeling or diving in Bora Bora. These fish are masters of camouflage and can be difficult to spot among the coral reefs.

It’s crucial to avoid touching or stepping on them, as their stings can cause excruciating pain and even lead to serious medical complications.


Another venomous fish to watch out for is the lionfish. These stunning creatures are native to the Indo-Pacific region and have distinctive venomous spines. While they are not aggressive, their stings can be extremely painful. It’s best to keep a safe distance and admire them from afar.

Sea Urchins

Sea urchins are common in the shallow waters around Bora Bora. These spiky creatures may blend in with the coral, so it’s important to be cautious when walking or swimming near reefs. Accidentally stepping on a sea urchin can result in painful stings or even broken spines.

Wearing protective footwear such as water shoes can help reduce the risk of injury.


While encounters with jellyfish are rare in Bora Bora, it’s still worth being cautious. Some species of jellyfish found in the area can deliver painful stings. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of jellyfish and their potential risks before entering the water.

Portuguese Man o’ War

The Portuguese Man o’ War is not actually a jellyfish but a colony of organisms known as siphonophores. These creatures have long tentacles that can deliver potent stings. It’s important to stay away from them if you spot one washed up on the beach or floating in the water.

Fire Coral

Fire coral may look like harmless underwater plants, but they are actually marine animals with tiny stinging tentacles. Contact with fire coral can cause a painful rash or even severe allergic reactions. It’s best to avoid touching or brushing against any coral to minimize the risk of injury.

Precautions to Take

When exploring the waters of Bora Bora, it’s essential to take certain precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always swim or snorkel with a buddy.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear, such as a wetsuit or rash guard, to minimize exposure to marine life.
  • Learn about the different species of marine life in the area and their potential risks.
  • Observe marine life from a safe distance and avoid touching or disturbing them.
  • If stung or injured by any marine creature, seek medical attention immediately.

By being aware of the other marine life in Bora Bora and taking necessary precautions, you can enjoy your underwater adventures while staying safe and protected.


Mosquitoes are small, flying insects that can be found in various parts of the world, including Bora Bora. While they may seem harmless, mosquitoes can pose significant health risks due to the diseases they carry.

It is important to be aware of the potential dangers and take necessary precautions to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. Symptoms of dengue fever include high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, rash, and fatigue. In severe cases, it can lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be life-threatening.

Bora Bora has had cases of dengue fever in the past, so it is essential to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika Virus

The Zika virus is another mosquito-borne disease that has been a concern in Bora Bora. It can cause mild symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. However, the most significant risk of Zika virus infection is for pregnant women, as it can cause birth defects in their babies.

It is crucial for pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant to take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Precautions to Take

To protect yourself from mosquito bites and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, it is recommended to:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Use mosquito repellent containing DEET on exposed skin
  • Stay in accommodations with screens on windows and doors
  • Avoid outdoor activities during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
  • Remove any standing water around your living area, as it can serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes

It is also advisable to stay informed about the latest updates on mosquito-borne diseases in Bora Bora. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website provides valuable information on travel health recommendations and current disease outbreaks.

You can visit their website at www.cdc.gov for more information.

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy your time in Bora Bora while minimizing the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses.


While Bora Bora is largely a safe destination, it’s important to be aware of the dangerous animals that inhabit its shores and waters. By taking proper precautions like avoiding swimming at night, wearing insect repellent, and not disturbing marine life, you’re unlikely to run into trouble during your tropical getaway.

With some mindfulness and care, you can fully relax and enjoy the beauty and serenity that Bora Bora has to offer.

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