An Aussie woman has warned fellow beachgoers about the dangers of picking up seashells after coming across one of the country’s most venomous animals at a popular beach while doing so.
Lisa Bryant was at South Beach in Fremantle with a group of friends on Thursday when she noticed an interesting shell and "tucked" it into her bathers "for safe keeping".
However, 20 minutes later she "felt an irritation" and retrieved it just as a blue-ring octopus "flopped out".
In an interview with Yahoo News Australia, Ms Bryant confessed the tiny — but potentially deadly — creature had given her a bit of a fright.
"It dropped onto sand – so I scooped it up with my face mask – squealing of course! Lots of people gathered around giving me medical advice and recommending I go straight to hospital," she said.
"Someone came along with a coffee cup and offered to relocate it off the groyne away from beach. I had a nervous 30 minutes waiting for any symptoms."
Thankfully for Ms Bryant, the octopus did not appear to see her as a threat, as she only suffered from a minor irritation which she described to be a red mark and a small graze on the hip that may have even been from the shell rather than the octopus.
"I have bought a lotto ticket!" she told Yahoo in half-jest following her close call.
In an attempt to warn others against doing the same, Ms Bryant posted a 3D snap of the small creature in a coffee cup on a Facebook group for South Beach swimmers. "If you’re swimming around South Beach, don’t be tempted to souvenir any shells from the sea bed," she wrote, deeming it her "lucky day".
Small but deadly
The blue-ringed octopus, which in this case was described by Ms Bryant to be about 7cms long, is a small specie of octopus. It is however considered one of the most venomous inhabitants of the ocean, and gets its name from iridescent blue markings that are only displayed when it is about to dispense its poison.
But while its venom is lethal to humans, the blue-ringed octopus is actually non-aggressive and only bites when it is harassed and poked, the Australian Institute of Marine Science says on their website.
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