One of Australia’s deadliest creatures has been spotted lurking in the depths of Sydney Harbour.
Underwater photographer Duncan Heuer and his girlfriend were on an evening scuba dive 50 metres from shore at Camp Cove Beach in Watsons Bay last week when they spotted a blue-ring octopus hidden in the sand.
The species has enough poison to kill 26 adult humans within minutes, causing paralysis.
‘I was trying to set my camera up to film this sea spider and then I noticed this little thing flashing on the rocks, I’d obviously disturbed it while I was trying to look at the spider and it was flashing at me to go away,’ Mr Heuer told news.com.au.
The blue-ringed octopus was spotted hidden in the sand in Sydney Harbour (stock image)
‘To actually find one is quite a rare thing, despite that fact that if you were wading in the water you probably walk past 20 of them, but they’re all hiding under rocks.’
The marine creature flashes its distinctive bright colours if it feels threatened but will only attack if they are being harassed and poked.
Despite their danger, Mr Heuer is unfazed about being so close to them.
‘Their first means of defence is to hide and if that doesn’t work, then they flash colours and swim away. The only way you’d get bitten is if you grab one and pull it out of the water,’ he said.
The deadly creature was spotted 50 metres from shore at Camp Cove Beach in Watsons Bay
Being so close to the creature octopus began to curl its tentacles up ‘like a boxer’ and flashed its colours as it moved away from him.
‘It obviously didn’t like it too much… If we’re trying to photograph them, we don’t spend too much time trying because it’s quite stressful for them,’ Mr Heuer told 9news.com.au.
The octopus species has claimed the lives of at least three people, including two in Australia and one in Singapore.
The blue ringed octopus has enough poison to kill 26 adult humans within minutes
Blue-ringed octopus bites
- The blue-ringed octopus bite is highly venomous to humans and emergency services should be called immediately if it occurs
- Blue-ringed octopuses are not aggressive animals and most cases of bites are from a person picking up and handling the creature, or stepping on it
- It injects its toxin by biting – the venom is held in salivary glands and the mouth of the octopus in on the underneath side in the middle of the body
- Most bites cause minimal pain for the first 5-10 minutes then begin to throb and may get numb
- The bite could cause excessive bleeding, nausea, vomiting, changes in vision and difficulty swallowing
- After 10 minutes, the victim may have difficulty breathing, become paralysed, and require artificial ventilation until they can be transported to a hospital
- The duration of life-threatening symptoms is usually 4 to 10 hours – after that time, surviving patients typically show rapid signs of improvement
- There is no anti-venom available for blue-ringed octopus bites
- In extreme cases, blue-ringed octopus bites can cause death from respiratory failure or cardiac arrest
- Despite its high toxicity there have been just three recorded deaths in the last century – two in Australia and one in Singapore