It's no secret that almost every living thing in Australia wants to kill you. While our snakes and spiders grab most of the headlines, there are also plenty of deadly critters in our waters. Take for example, the blue-ringed octopus - a highly venomous species that can cause death to humans within minutes.
In other words, it's probably not a good idea to pick one up for a selfie. Like this idiot here.
In 2019, a tourist in Australia went viral after posting a video holding a blue-ringed octopus. Needless to say, the unnamed YOLO lover is lucky to be alive.
Australia is notorious for its menagerie of venomous and man-eating animals. While most foreigners are aware of the saltwater croc, brown snake, white pointer and funnel-web spider, there are countless other critters lurking in the Aussie wilderness that are equally unpleasant and/or deadly. Here's a handy bestiary to show annoying overseas relatives so they don't come visiting.
The chilling video, which was originally posted to TikTok, found its way to Reddit last year, where Australians started to point out just how dangerous it was to handle a blue-ringed octopus. Commenters shared their own stories about the animal, which reportedly carries enough venom to kill 26 full grown adults in a span of minutes.
The venom of the blue-ringed octopus, which contains the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin, causes paralysis and the sting is so small that most people have no idea that they’ve been poisoned until it’s too late.
To make things even more horrifying, there’s no anti-venom available for the blue-ringed octopus. The only known treatment is to massage the victim’s heart until the venom works its way throughout a person’s body in a matter of hours.
One person on Reddit even told the story of an unnamed victim who had been paralysed on the beach with their eyes open while facing the sun.
“They survived, but nobody had really thought about the fact they’d been staring up into full midday sunlight for a couple of hours throughout the process with their eyes wide open, pupils fully dilated,” the Redditer said. “Total paralysis, easy for the first-aiders to not think to cover their eyes. Caused irreversible damage. They permanently lost their vision.”
Australia gets a bad wrap for having dangerous animals, but most locals believe that the fear is overblown. It’s not overblown when it comes to the blue-ringed octopus though. If you see one in the water, let it be.
This story has been updated since its original publication.