March 16, 2023 | 1:44 PM
A woman in Australia was rushed to hospital on Thursday after being bitten by a highly venomous octopus.
The unnamed woman in her 30s was swimming at Chinamans Beach in New South Wales when she was bitten in the abdomen by a blue-ringed octopus, The Australian reported.
“This woman… picked up a shell. There was a tiny blue-ringed octopus inside that fell out and bit her twice in the stomach,” New South Wales ambulance inspector Christian Holmes told the outlet.
The victim subsequently experienced abdominal pain, forcing paramedics to apply pressure and apply a cold compress before she was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital.
Blue-ringed octopuses are small creatures found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and are common along the Australian coast.
The retreating cephalopods attack only when provoked, but their venom contains tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin that blocks the transmission of nerve impulses and is up to 1,000 times more toxic than cyanide.
Left untreated, a bite — which is often small and painless — can cause respiratory arrest, heart failure, paralysis, blindness, and eventually death from asphyxia.
Despite their size, a single deadly octopus contains enough venom to kill 26 adult humans in minutes.
Fortunately, the Chinamans Beach victim is reportedly in stable condition.
The perpetrator octopus has also been seized by the ambulance service.
“A bite from a blue-ringed octopus is a rare call for us, but they are extremely venomous,” Holmes said.