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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Boy Nets a Killer!

Written by: Karisa Whelan,

JOSHUA Carpenter was having a day out with his family at Lake Conjola when he made a surprising, and potentially deadly, find. Scooping through the waters of the lake to catch small fish, Joshua was surprised to lift his net and see something flashing blue, a deadly Blue-ringed Octopus.

Realising what it was, the seven-year-old called out to his parents, who rushed to his side and safely removed the small creature from the net.

Joshua's mother, Helen, said she was proud Joshua had alerted his parents when he realised he had caught the dangerous octopus.

"I was surprised and alarmed to see Joshua had caught the octopus as it was quite close to the shore and near our other children, one of who is only 16 months old," Helen said.

"Thankfully Josh knew what to do when he saw the octopus flash blue.

"We are really proud Joshua recognised it as a Blue-ringed, alerted us straight away and didn't play with it.

"I think it is a timely reminder for parents to be aware.

"I hate to think what could have happened if it had been a child who caught the octopus who didn't know what they had found."

After catching the octopus on Tuesday, February 2, Joshua's parents put the creature into a glass jar with methylated spirits giving Joshua a great item for show and tell at school.

The little octopus has since been shown in several classes at St Mary's School and Joshua said that all the kids who saw it had never seen one before.

Helen told the Times that both Joshua and his brother said there were a lot of questions asked by the students and teachers about where and how they got it.


DESPITE their small size and relatively docile nature, Blue-ringed Octopuses are currently recognised as one of the world's most venomous animals.

The creature can be recognised by its characteristic blue and black rings and yellowish skin.

It hunts small crabs, hermit crabs, and shrimp, and may bite attackers, including humans, if provoked or stepped on.

While there is no Blue-ringed Octopus antivenom available, people who receive immediate first aid are known to recover completely.

The toxin in a Blue-ringed Octopus bite blocks sodium channels causing motor paralysis and respiratory arrest within minutes of exposure, leading to cardiac arrest due to a lack of oxygen.

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