6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Touch A Seahorse.

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Seahorses are very docile and magical creatures that can attract people to touch and interact with them. Despite their unique appearance and mesmerizing rituals, these creatures are very weak and fearful, therefore a simple touch could do great harm.

There are many laws regarding the handling and safeguarding of seahorses all of which are to preserve the species and to protect them from humans and other threats.

Especially wild seahorse species which are endangered and are far different than captive-bred seahorses.

Wild seahorses are not used to human handling and being manipulated to suit human requirements. Captive-bred are more open to interaction but they also have their limits.

With all that said it’s not good to touch or handle seahorses just for the sake of it, and if they require human handling you should proceed with caution and control.

Here are 5 ways you shouldn’t touch a seahorse.

1. A Touch Can Cause Stress.

Seahorses are slow-moving fish with poor swimming ability, they can’t adequately protect themselves from predators.

They depend heavily on camouflage to hide away from predators or whenever they feel threatened.

When seahorses come into contact with humans out in the wild or in captivity a simple touch is enough to cause them to stress.

They will panic become more tense and start to radically move, exerting more energy which can negatively affect their health.

With more touches and human interaction, this tense behavior could lead to chronic stress which can leave a seahorse unhappy and fearful.

Captive-bred seahorses are a lot more open to human interaction since they have adapted to the breeding processes of man.

This means they can handle human interaction better than wild seahorses, however, this isn’t a reason for them to be touched.

2. They Are Fragile.

A seahorse’s body is made up of hard, external, bony plates that are fused together with a fleshy covering.

Even though their hard exoskeleton serves as some sort of protection, they aren’t strong enough to handle force.

They are very delicate and may become fatally exhausted when exposed to touch or applied pressure. Their bodies can break and bruise easily making them susceptible to infections.

A simple touch with human strength no matter how minimal it may be for you, when applied to the seahorse it could cause pain and may become fatal.

Their sensitive bodies must be safeguarded, nurtured, and protected from any external forces. Including human involvement.

3. Against The Law.

Many seahorse species are endangered therefore there are many laws in place to preserve the species.

Many countries have strict rules, especially for divers, marine photographers, and local tourists. Such rules include

  • Disturbing, touching, or chasing seahorses – touching them is against the law in many countries and should not be done under any circumstances.
  • Hovering over seahorses – stresses them as they think there is a predator above them.
  • Make sure that there are only a maximum of 8 divers around a seahorse at any one time.
  • Divers are not allowed to completely surround the animal but positioned in a semicircle so that the seahorse can move away if it wants to.

With regard to captive-bred seahorses, they should be treated likewise to prevent unwanted stress and behavior patterns.

4. You Can Introduce More Bacteria.

Placing your hand in a tank to touch a seahorse may be all well with you but I bet you don’t realize the harsh consequences.

We know that seahorses are messy eaters therefore they are at risk for infections and bacterial buildup due to the pathogens lurking in their water.

Placing your hand inside their tank exposes them to more bacteria and you can be introducing them to certain pathogens which can rapidly increase and cause their deterioration.

Keeping strict water parameters is extremely important for seahorses and your hand on them can directly place them at a higher risk for catching on other infections.

Yet another reason to avoid intrusion and let them be!

5. Exert More Energy/ Erattic Behaviour.

Any stress-induced factor or changes in their environment can cause fear and anxiety in a seahorse.

This causes them to exert more energy in behaving erratically. This is a response to a stimulus that evokes a reaction that negatively affects them.

Due to their compromised immune system as well as added stress factors, this could be debilitating.

This is why its also advised that seahorse aquariums be located in low-traffic areas to prevent disruption and added stress.

Respecting their space is a great way to ensure they remain happy and comfortable within their surrounding.

6. May Become defensive.

Seahorses can’t defend themselves so they hide and when faced with unforeseen human encounters they can become defensive.

Even though their defense mechanism isn’t really strong against bigger threats, it’s mentally and physically draining for them.

This defensive state leaves them agitated and uneased. It disrupts their normal functions and they tend to behave differently until the stressor is gone.

What seems like a small thing to us humans is actually an invasion of territory for seahorses. Their territorial natural instincts are stimulated.

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