Meet the Adorable Octopus That Can Kill You in Minutes
At first glance, blue-ringed octopuses are cute. They're about the size of a hamster, so what could be so ominous about them?
We could have visited an aquarium to find out, but that would be too boring. Instead, we decided to simply ask one of these deadly creatures. Yes, that's right — and here's what that blue-ringed octopus had to say.
Hi. I'm a Blue Ringed Octopus.
My charm is a lot to take in. Don't be alarmed if you swoon. I get that a lot. I look like a gummy bear with eight legs, all of them colorful enough to land me a spot on the runway at Paris Fashion Week.
I haven't got an invitation yet, but it's coming.
Want to Be My Friend?
When I was born, I was about the size of a pea. Now, I'm larger than life, as long as life is the size of a golf ball.
I can see why it would be tempting to pick me up, and I really do like meeting new people.
Of Course You Want to Be Friends. I'm Gorgeous.
I don't blame you if your first thought is, "Wow, I wonder if I could keep one of those as a pet," but no. The answer is no. We're friends, but we're not that close.
Plus, I only live about two years, and I do not intend on spending that in a glass box. I'm a free-spirited golf ball, thank you very much.
You'd Have to Find Me First, Though
If you're swimming along a coral reef anywhere from Australia to Japan, or peeking into a cozy tide pool, you just might find me. I'm rather round. My body is mostly a head with tentacles, topped with two big eyes.
If you don't spot me at first, I'll only hold it against you a little. Most of the time, I'm a soft shade of butter yellow, blending in with the sand below.
I’m a Little Clingy, but Who Isn’t?
Like all octopuses, I'm extremely intelligent, and I'm a trained killer — of crustaceans and tiny fish. If you're larger than that, I won't try to eat you. Promise.
That sounds like something a snake would pull, and do I look like an idiotic reptile to you? Answer carefully.
Why Are You Running? Is It My Breath?
Not sure what I said to offend, but I need answers. I'll even come up on land to get them. Not really, though. I can only stay on dry land for a few minutes at a time.
I have gills like a fish, so I can only breathe underwater. I can, however, clamber from one rocky tide pool to the next to, erm, grocery shop.
Oh, Right. It’s the Venom.
Fine, I apologize. I can see how the possibility of death would deter you from inviting me to game night. My light-colored tentacles have a habit of lighting up into iridescent blue rings when I'm feeling threatened, though.
Just let me win at Monopoly, and you probably won't have to see them.
Fine, Full Disclosure: I Could Kill You If I Wanted To.
If, Poseidon forbid, I do lose a game, the stress might be enough to bring out my spots. If that happens, you'll definitely want to keep your distance. I have not one, but two types of venom.
One is used as a defense, while the other is used to paralyze my dinner before I eat it. You don't want to be on the receiving end of either, so it's better to let me win.
But I Wouldn’t! (Probably)
I really don't want to hurt anyone, but what else would you have me do? I'm the size of a gum ball, and I look delicious.
I need all the venom I can get, and I have plenty: enough to kill 26 adult humans in a matter of minutes. Maybe don't step on me, yeah?
Just Don’t Pick Me Up, and We’ll Get Along Just Fine
If you think your day job is hard, try being me. People think I'm adorable, pick me up without asking, and then get mad when I try to kill them.
Like, what? Have you not heard of consent? I could sue, but lawyers don't consider sand dollars an acceptable method of payment. Sigh.
I Know It’s Tempting. I Look Like Colorful Popcorn. But Don’t.
Since I can't sue my kidnappers, I do my best to end them. It's not personal. I just value my life more than theirs, OK? It's not my fault I'm prettier.
If I do give someone a taste of my medicine, they might not notice at first. My bite is tiny and sometimes painless, but they'll realize something's up in a few minutes. What happens then isn't great.
I Don’t Want To Kill You. You Don’t Want To Die. Let’s Keep It That Way.
I mean, it's not great for them. As I swim away to safety, they start feeling numb. Then, their muscles weaken, and they start struggling to swallow and breath. Nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances and trouble speaking come next.
It all escalates until you either end up in the hospital or the morgue, all while I'm back at home, living my best life. The moral of this story: Look, but don't touch. Seriously.
We Can Still Hang, Though.
If I do bite you, don't panic. I did say it wasn't personal. As long as you survive the first 24 hours, you should be totally fine. There's no antidote to my venom, but if a bite victim gets supportive care for the first 15 or so hours, their muscles will gradually begin working again.
All these years, I've only caused three reported deaths. Meanwhile, 37 people have been squished by vending machines since the 1970s. Basically, I need space, but I'm still less lethal than a soda.
You’re Welcome to Create Artwork in My Likeness If You’re That Obsessed With Me
They really captured my eyes, don't you think? I'm impressed. Totally would not bite this particular artist.
I rarely attack people, anyway. It's purely a defense mechanism. Several people are bitten by blue-ringed octopuses each year, but it's very rarely fatal.
Or the Most Ill-Advised Selfie of All Time
Still, it's better not to play with fire. Just take a picture.
It's way cheaper than your hospital bill will be if you pull a stunt like this.
At the End of the Day, I’m Not All That Scary
Whoever took this video is either very brave, very stupid or very in need of a mental health intervention. Are you OK, friend? I really don't want to hurt you, but we did talk about the picking-up thing. What happened to boundaries?
If someone you know does make the grave mistake of picking me up, prepare to save their sorry butt. They'll probably stop breathing at some point thanks to full-body paralysis, but if you perform CPR, they should be OK. Physically, at least. Mentally, not so sure.
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