Deadly creature family brought home
A FAMILY from West Australia unknowingly took home one of the most poisonous creatures in the ocean just before Christmas.
The Pix family had been spending Christmas Eve at Quindalup beach, in the southwest of the state, when 11-year old Sophie found two "pretty" octopuses while she was diving for shells.
She gave them to her father Aaron, who put them in his pocket and took them home. It wasn't until they got them home they realised exactly what they had.
Blue-ringed octopuses are a highly venomous species and are usually found in tide pools and coral reefs. The octopus gets its name for its circular, iridescent blue markings, which are usually only displayed when the animal feels threatened and is about to release its poison.
"When I pulled the shells out at home to clean them, there was this blue-ringed octopus in my hand," Mr Pix told Perth Now.
"We googled it and read that the bite is non-painful, so you may not even know you've been bitten, and it can be fatal within minutes."
Mr Pix told Perth Now he felt lucky to be alive, especially as he would probably not have known he had been bitten.
There have been a number of blue-ringed octopus sightings in WA this already summer. Earlier this month Coogee Beach WA Surf Life Saving Club uploaded photos of them to Facebook as a warning for parents to keep an eye on what their kids are doing at the beach.
That warning came after a young girl accidentally took one of the creatures home with her in a shell.
"A young girl was at the beach this morning in front of our club building sandcastles and collecting shells," the post read.
"Lucky her Aunty was cleaning the stash of shells when they got home as this critter emerged.
"They look beautiful....but a bite can be deadly," the post read.
According to the Australian Institute of Marine science, the chemical the octopus releases, which is called tetrodotoxin, aims to paralyse its target.
Two deaths are known to have occurred from a blue ringed octopus bite in Australia, with many more coming very close.
Death usually occurs as a result of lack of oxygen as the toxin paralyses the muscles, but leaves the victim fully conscious.