Blue Ringed Octopus Poison

DANGER! The blue rings on a blue ringed octopus are only visible when it is about to attack. The blue ringed octopus can cause death to an adult human in minutes. There is no known antidote.

The blue ringed octopus has two poison glands that secrete different types of poison through the saliva. One type is quite mild and is used to paralyze crabs and other prey when hunting for food. The other type is very toxic and is used as a defence against predators, including people.

The blue ringed octopus has a painless bite that is not much more than a scratch. The poison in the blue ringed octopus saliva, however is very strong and can kill an adult human in minutes.

Bites generally occur when a blue ringed octopus has been picked up out of its pool or stepped on so most bites are inflicted on the hands, arms, shoulders and feet.

At first the victim feels nauseous, then there is a loss of sight, touch speech and the ability to swallow. In 3 minutes, the nervous system stops working, paralysis sets in and respiratory failure commences. Without immediate help the victim will die.

Mouth to mouth resusitation and heart massage must be started straight away and continued until professional medical help is reached. There artificial respiration and heart massage will continue unitl the poison can work its way out of the victims system. This usually takes about 24 hours and leaves the victim with no obvious side effects.

Victims are aware of their surroundings throughout their ordeal but are unable to respond in any way. They may appear dead but if aid comes quickly enough, they will survive.

Because the poison is in the saliva, it can be injested through the skin. Some people have reported a tingling in their hands after touching rocks or water recently occupied by the blue ringed octopus.

Website created by Jenny Stevenson - June 2006.