Interesting Octopus Bites

In 1998, an aquarium employee was handling a octopus rubescens in Puget Sound near Seattle.  Although he was gloved, the small octopus swam right up the glove, and feeling obviously threatened, bit him. He did not feel the bite immediately, as they are so small its hard to tell. But after a few minutes, the employee noticed the blood and the small hole above his ring finger. The venom was very painful and the bleeding continued. The crew headed to the closest place that could get them boiling water: a nearby espresso stand. The heat of the boiling water broke down the poisonous toxins and the pain was gone within minutes.

The bite victim went to the hospital just in case, and ironically, the hospital called the aquarium for advise. All that was suggested was ointment for the blisters from the boiling water. The next day the bite was almost gone, although the victim recorded headaches and weakness. We do not know much about the O. Rubescen; there is much to learn. Is this venom possibly strong enough to be helpful in the medical field? With little knowledge on the subject, the future looks bright, because only new possibilities and resources can come from venomous animals.

This article interested me because I didn’t know any species of octopus’ had venom in them at all. Also, it is very good to know that boiling water burns the toxins, especially because I occasionally run into octopus’ out fishing. If there is not testing going on now, there should be to learn more about octopus bites, O. Rubescen more specifically. The article also talked about the intelligence of these molluscs. One woman, who was previously bit by a O. Rubescen learned more about it as it was brought her classroom and studied. She describes the “moods” of the octopus. Depending on the body language and particular color, the teacher knew whether she felt threatened, felt shy, or was hungry. The octopus even let her pet her between the eyes while she wrapped her tentacles around her arm. Octopus are peculiar animals, almost showing character the more you get to know them. There is much to learn and discover from all molluscs in the cephalopoda phylum.

Leave a Reply