A woman is warning others after a terrifying creature was found in the shallows of a popular swimming spot on the Sunshine Coast.
The woman posted a picture of a stonefish on a local community Facebook page, found at the La Balsa Park swimming spot near Mooloolaba.
“I know it’s a sea creature and that’s where it lives, I wanted to let people know that it was found there,” she wrote.
“There are so many people and dogs that swim in this spot. It was released back into the water but away from where someone could stand on it.”
Queensland Museum says on its website stonefish are the most venomous fish in the ocean.
They are often found in shallow waters in the northern part of Australia.
How a stonefish can kill
They are also dangerous because they camouflage with their surroundings like coral and rock.
“The stonefish has 13 sharp strong dorsal fin spines that are contained within a sheath of thick skin,” Queensland Museum says.
“At the base of each spine there are two venom glands that discharge their contents along ducts in the spine. When disturbed, the fish erects its spines, but maintains its position on the sea floor.”
According to Queensland Museum, swimmers are often stung on their feet, causing immediate pain that lasts for a number of days.
Symptoms include muscular paralysis, breathing difficulties, shock and sometimes heart failure and death.
Last month Surf Life Saving Queensland lifeguards removed a barb from a 35-year-old woman’s foot at Tallebudgera Creek on the Gold Coast and she was taken to hospital in a stable condition.
Tallebudgera Creek was also the area of two other stings, with an 11-year-old treated after she stood on a dead stonefish on January 10.
Lifeguards treated a 27-year-old man at Bulcock Beach in Caloundra on January 11, who was taken to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
“He had a severe limp and I went down to assist him,” a lifeguard told 7News.
SLSQ is urging beachgoers to wear thick-soled shoes if possible and shuffle their feet when walking in shallows to avoid getting stung.
Those who get stung should place the affected area in hot water to relieve pain and seek urgent medical attention.