An 18-year-old man in Australia was collecting seashells to show his niece and putting them into his pocket, not knowing a deadly creature was hiding inside one of them.
Jacob Eggington could have been dead in 30 minutes had he not recognized he had been bitten on the leg by a blue-ringed octopus, one of the most venomous creatures in the world.
Eggington was collecting shells at Shoalwater Beach in Perth on Monday, and when he pulled a shell out of his pocket to give to his niece, the deadly octopus emerged—just seconds before the toddler would have been holding it, according to 7News Perth.
— 7NEWS Perth (@7NewsPerth) December 4, 2023
“That’s probably one of the more dramatic thoughts to think what could have happened,” Eggington’s brother Joshua told 7News. “So in the same way, he did get bitten, but he also probably saved one of his nieces’ or nephews’ lives.”
A moment later, Jacob inspected his leg and spotted a small, painless bite. Emergency services were called, and he was stretchered off the beach and taken to Rockingham General Hospital where he was treated for over six hours to stabilize him.
There is no antidote for the deadly toxins of the blue-ringed octopus.
“And when they do bite, then that can be fatal within a half an hour,” Murdoch University marine scientist Jennifer Verduin told 7News.
When someone is stung, it’s important to keep the victim as still as possible and call for help.
The Australian Museum states that the blue-ringed octopus uses its “extremely powerful venom” to kill its prey, such as crabs and small fish, Yahoo News Australia reported.
Ian Tibbetts, Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, told Yahoo News Australia the social media trend showing people handling these creatures is “alarming stupidity,” and warned at the time, “Someone might die doing this.”
Now, officials are warning beachgoers to exercise caution.
Photos courtesy of 7News Perth and Wikipedia Commons.