Poisonous Marine Animals

There are many poisonous creatures in the sea and they really are masters of defence. One of the most perplexing and lethal poisonous marine animals is the Box Jellyfish, which is usually found in the waters around Australia. Shooting itself along at speeds of 4 knots the Box Jellyfish has a fascinating fifteen tentacles that grow to up to 3 metres in length. These tentacles have five-thousand harpoon shaped stinging cell needles which are used to inject it’s venom, which is the most deadly known to man. The tentacles stick tightly to the skin and if stung badly the victim can die from cardiac arrest within minutes. Even more minor stings are so painful and intense that the victim can go into shock and then runs the risk of drowning. Box Jellyfish are pale blue and transparent, making it near impossible to spot them in the water.

Another poisonous marine creature is the Blue-Ringed Octopus. This octopus is quite small and found in tide pools and tropical waters anywhere from Japan to Australia. Although it is not usually aggressive towards humans, disrupting an area where a Blue-Ringed Octopus is hiding can result in getting bitten. The bite is virtually painless and will go unnoticed at first but soon the victim will experience cramps and numbness, particularly in the facial area and become quickly paralysed. But the Blue-Ringed Octopus does not use needles to inject it’s venom like the Box Jellyfish does, the venom enters the wound in the saliva. The most frightening thing about Blue-Ringed Octopus venom is that although it causes motor paralysis, the victim will still be aware but unable to move or respond! If rescued from the water quickly and taken to hospital there is chance of survival, but no anti venom is available in Australia to treat it.

The Stingray is another poisonous marine animal that is not aggressive by nature and the most likely cause for a sting is accidentally stepping on one or startling it. They shuffle around on the bottom of the sea floor,prefer warm water and eat small fish and mollusks. Their sting can cause horrendous pain and profuse bleeding for a long period of time after the sting, up to a few months. They have immensely strong tails that have the force to break a wooden boat and if the victim is lashed in the abdomen, chest or neck it can be fatal. Before entering the water it’s a good idea to carefully kick your feet around and disturb the seabed a little so any stingray will swim away.

The most venomous fish known to the ocean is called the Stone Fish and lives the Indo-Pacific region. Stone Fish lie on the sea bed and wait for little fish to swim past. It is completely camouflaged and can snatch it’s prey with remarkable lightning speed. Many species of shark and rays hunt stone fish and it defends itself with it’s venomous spines on it’s back. It is not aggressive towards humans but like the Stingray is dangerous if stepped on and causes rapid swelling and temporary paralysis but can be treated.

There are many other interesting poisonous marine animals such as the sea cucumber, the strange echinoderm, which discharges sticky thin threads to wrap round their foe. This can cause weakening of the muscles and if it comes into contact with the eyes can result in permanent blindness. There’s the notorious little Starfish with it’s five arms, each one covered in tiny sharp spines with venomous skin. The colourful lion-fish with it’s venomous fin spines and the cone-shell marine snails with it’s poison filled tooth.

So there are many different types of venomous creatures but if you exercise caution when in the sea they can be avoided.