Deadly find inside shell

Busselton Dunsborough Times

A Dunsborough fishing store has put out a warning to the public after a blue-ringed octopus was found inside a shell picked up by a family last week.

Access Fishing owner Justin Turner said a customer came to his store and reported the incident.

“A guy who is a regular customer of ours came in this week and told us about it,” he said.

“He had been down at the boat ramp area at Old Dunsborough with his kids and they had a few shells.”

Mr Turner said he was told the shell had been resting on a boogie board when the man and his children suspected something was inside it and soon after the octopus crawled out.

“They returned the octopus back to the water and we put the photo up online to let people know about it,” Mr Turner said.

WA Museum curator of molluscs Lisa Kirkendale said the octopuses commonly inhabited rock pools but were often found in other areas that offered semi-confined spaces such as dead marine shells, clumps of mussels but also marine rubbish.

Dr Kirkendale said the highly toxic venom in their saliva could kill people and advised people not to pick them up, not carry objects such as empty shells tucked into wetsuits or pockets and to wear protective gloves if taking part in coastal clean-ups.

“A person who has been bitten by a blue-ring might not feel much, so if a bite is expected it is important to seek medical help immediately,” she said.

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