Footage shared online shows a tourist risking their life when they picked up one of the world’s most venomous animals.
The video shows a close-up of the holidaymaker’s hand, in which is a small, brown and yellow octopus with distinctive blue rings covering its body.
While it might look harmless to anyone who doesn’t know much about the creature, the pattern is actually a telltale sign that the tourist is holding a blue-ringed octopus, which can be extremely harmful – even deadly – to humans.
According to Divers Alert Network, the blue-ringed octopi are the only cephalopods known to be dangerous to humans.
The website explains:
All octopi have some sort of venom to paralyze their victims, but the blue-ringed octopus bite may contain an extremely powerful neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin (TTX), which can be up to 10,000 times more potent than cyanide and can paralyze a victim in minutes.
Theoretically, a little more than one-half milligram of this venom — the amount that can be placed on the head of a pin — is enough to kill an adult human.
[S]igns and symptoms usually start within minutes and may include … excessive salivation, trouble with pronunciation, difficulty swallowing …
Serious cases may progress to muscular weakness, incoordination, tremors and paralysis.
The shocking footage is said to have been originally posted on Tik Tok, an app for sharing short videos, before it was shared to Reddit where it has been seen by thousands of users.
Take a look at the video here:
News.com.au explains the blue-ringed octopus is recognised as one of the world’s deadliest marine animals, and carries enough venom to kill 26 adult humans within minutes. It’s safe to say the tentacled beings shouldn’t be messed with!
Divers Alert Network adds that the blue-ringed octopus only displays its rings ‘when the animal is disturbed, hunting or mating’, otherwise it displays ‘overall yellowish, grey or beige coloration without any visible blue rings.’
Worryingly, the blue rings were clearly visible on the octopus in the video, suggesting the tourist could have been in some real danger if they’d held on to it for much longer, but they appeared to release it back into the sea quite swiftly.
According to one Reddit user, as reported by news.com.au, the Mandarin writing on the video reads ‘Such a beautiful octopus’.
Presumably the tourist had no idea how dangerous the creature was – it would certainly be a risky game to decide to pick it up otherwise. They were obviously lucky the octopus didn’t cause them any harm!
Thankfully, it is quite rare for the blue-ringed octopus to release its venom; Divers Alert Network reports there are only a handful of reported fatal cases.
Many Reddit users were left stunned by the video, with thousands commenting about how deadly the creatures can be and how lucky the tourist was to get away unharmed.
One shocked viewer wrote:
Holyyy sh*tttt. Do they even know how lucky they are to be alive after doing something that monumentally stupid??
While another added:
That moment when they were struggling to get it off their hand made me internally scream.
I’d use this video as a warning if I were you; if you come across any strange and intriguing animals, just use the zoom function on your camera to get a closer look, rather than potentially risking your life.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.