Do Pike Bite Swimmers? The Truths and Real Dangers of Pike

Summer is approaching and you may want to get a nice dip in the water, but knowing there’s a pike population where you’re planning to go swimming can make you shrink back. Reading this news about pike bite and how it attacks swimmers can make some people nervous but is the danger that real?

Do pike bite swimmers? Yes, pike bite swimmers even though it rarely happens, but their bites are painful and may require stitching afterward. Pike can attack people that are swimming or reeling when fishing. Pike attacks are very rare and not based on feeding purposes, they just mistake it for lures.

Found below are answers to every question you may ask yourself regarding the dangers of pike before hitting the lake, keep reading to know more.

Do Pike Attack Humans? 

a picture of pike closely to answer why do pike bite swimmers

It has been reported several times that pike indeed attacks humans. However, it may help to contain the freaking out associated with this if you knew why they attack in the first place. Pike don’t attack humans to feed on their flesh or drag them down the lake so a larger predator can do the job, they simply attack because they mistake your hands or feet as something they can swallow.

Pike may attack you if you’re wearing something to attract their eyes. If you’re swimming wearing shiny anklets, bracelets or toe rings they may mistake it for lures especially at night when they’re the only thing visible in the dark waters and an immediate attack could take place.

As another reassuring fact, pike will not attack any object that’s larger than ⅓ of its body length, so they’re unlikely to attack swimmers as long as they’re not wearing jewelry to attract pike

Are Pike Aggressive? 

So, are pike aggressive? Yes, pike are aggressive in their natural habitat. They are predatory vicious fish that feed on other fish and when they catch your bait they don’t get out without a fight. Also, pike is a territorial fish that gets really aggressive when they’re not given space.

Many anglers chase pike just for the sake of its aggressiveness when it hits the bait. They’re fierce and vicious game fish that enjoy hunting for what it is, they have powerful bodies built for speed with strong flexible muscles that allow them to put up a strong battle whenever they want. 

But Pike is not the only aggressive fish out there, you can learn why muskies bite humans here and why even walleyes can attack swimmers and fishermen here.

How Bad is a Pike Bite? 

I’m not gonna lie to you, a pike bite can be a hell of a pain. They have rows upon rows of sharp teeth that allow them to get a good grip of their prey and prevent it from escaping. So when they bite, they make sure there’s no getaway. 

So, how bad is a pike bite? A pike bite may need stitches, as they tuck their teeth deep in the flesh especially when you try to break free. Pike teeth are also covered in anticoagulants that prevent blood clotting, so their bite can make you bleed for a quite long time.

The bite may also get infected, pike eats a wide range of prey, it is also likely their mouth will contain various bacteria capable of causing an infection but this is not exclusive to the pike bite as any bite can get infected and cause other complications if not handled right.

How Sharp Are Pike Teeth? 

So, how sharp are pike teeth? Pike teeth are razor-sharp. They can have between 300 and 700 needle-like teeth that fit in their mouth row upon row. They’re designed to hold prey in place and prevent it from escaping and can definitely cause deep cuts in your hands or feet.

Pike teeth vary in size as well, but the large ones can get up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long. However, small ones can be razor-sharp too and do a great job to secure the pike’s grip on its prey.

Pike teeth
Picture of Pike Teeth

What to Do If You Got Bitten by Pike?

First off, don’t ever pull your finger or hand away from the pike mouth, the rows of teeth will go deeper in your flesh if you do so. Instead, try to force the mouth open not to make the wound get worse.

It’s better to go straight to the emergency room and let your health provider observe the injury closely and decide whether you need stitches or not. But if you want to do it yourself until you get there, it’s simple.

Note: the pike bite won’t normally stop bleeding after a short time so no need to freak out about it, your health provider will give you what can stop it

Before you let someone near your injury make sure they wash their hands with soap and water. Don’t touch the wound and make sure all dressing is sterile, then follow this simple guide:

  1. Spray the bitten area with clean water. 
  2. Add one-quarter teaspoon of salt to 200 ml (1 cup) of clean water. 
  3. Pour water over the wound to kill any germs.
  4. Use a clean cloth to apply direct pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding.

Warning: if you possibly observed some teeth stuck in the injury, leave them in place until your healthcare provider can remove them without harming your muscles or tissues.

Now that you know how to stay safe, it’s time to prepare for your next trip. You can start by checking out my recommended fly fishing lines here. Not to sound braggy or anything, but after years of testing, these truly are the best, and I will stand by my choices no matter what, so make sure to check them out before you start prepping.

Related Questions 

How Long Can a Pike Live Out of Water? 

A pike can live out of water for about five minutes before it starts suffocating. Pike can handle no gill movement for a maximum of 5 minutes but they can get stressed out way before that, their stress can lead to aggressive behaviors.

Can Pike Bite Your Finger Off? 

No, pike can’t bite your finger off. Pike teeth are razor-sharp and can indeed cause cuts to your finger but it’s not strong enough to cut through a human finger bone. The maximum damage is that the cut can be deep enough to need stitches.

What is a northern pike bite infection? 

A northern pike bite infection is an infection caused by the bacteria inside the pike mouth when they bite you. A pike rarely bites humans, but their bite can cause infections as they feed on a wide range of prey, it’s likely their mouth will contain various bacteria capable of causing an infection.

Helpful Resources

Pike Teeth Facts

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