Two British backpackers fishing in Australia can consider themselves lucky to be alive after ignorantly playing with a tiny blue-ringed octopus, whose painless bite can kill up to 26 adults in minutes.
A viral video posted on a Facebook group for backpackers shows daredevils Ross Saunders and Johnpaul Lennon dangling a blue-ringed octopus and letting it touch their skin, completely oblivious to the fact that a single bite could result in a painful death. The two adventurers had been fishing in Australia when they caught the yellow and blue spotted octopus, only instead of keeping it as far away as possible, they decided to play chicken with it, dangling the creature against their bare arms while laughing.
“Been an interesting two day introduction to fishing,” Saunders wrote on Facebook. “Watched two amazing sunsets, saw dolphins and caught a blue-ringed octopus, one of the most dangerous animals in the world and didn’t even realise.”
The blue-ringed octopus is one of Australia’s most deadly animals. Its small body carries enough venom to kill 26 adult humans, and experts say that people may not even feel when their bitten. But within complete paralysis of the breathing muscles ensues.
“Because of the small size of the injecting apparatus, the ‘bite’ may not be felt,” the Australian Museum website states. “However within minutes symptoms include numbness of the lips and tongue, difficulty in breathing, followed by complete paralysis of the breathing muscles. Victims appear to lose consciousness as they cannot respond to their name being called.”
The bright blue spots are only visible on the body of the octopus when it feels agitated or threatened, which suggests that the backpackers were in real danger of being bitten.
“He’s been trying to get pictures of all animals.. koalas.. all that kind of stuff and he wanted a picture with the octopus on his arm,” Johnpaul Lennon, who reportedly shot the video, said. “I didn’t know at the time was it dangerous and everybody told me no so I thought it would’ve been all right to get a photo.”
“Even when he said it was dangerous we didn’t realise how dangerous it was,” Saunders confirmed. “It’s been on my mind constantly just thinking like.. ‘what could’ve happened’”.
For obvious reasons, the video has attracted a lot of negative feedback on social media, with most users criticizing the two British backpackers and pointing out how close they came to a stupid death.
“You could’ve died. Have no common sense about the dangerous animals, creatures and mammals Australia has,” one person wrote.
“Can’t believe he put that on his arm. If it bites you, it paralysis you and you stop breathing within minutes,” someone else commented.