Ever been bitten?

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by m8298, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. m8298

    m8298 Cuttlefish Registered

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    How many of you have been bitten by an octo? Describe the experience.

    Do all octos have venom?
     
  2. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Yes, and yes...they all use venoms to some point.

    The effects I experienced after being bitten by a dwarf octopus were localized pain and swelling, loss of motor skills in the bitten hand, cramping and discolouration...all of this lasted for about 6 hours, then slowly went away. Within 24 hours, no symptoms were noticable.

    greg
     
  3. TidePool Geek

    TidePool Geek O. vulgaris Registered

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    Howdy,

    Octopus bites are a fascinating subject and I hope you get lots of
    responses. Keep in mind though that there's no such thing as a typical
    octopus bite.

    Before continuing, let me admit that I've never been bitten and that
    I'd be just as happy to keep that record intact.

    About a week ago, I attended a lecture by James Cosgrove M. Sc. of the
    Royal British Columbia Museum. Jim's main area of study is the
    behavior of GPO's (Enteroctopus dofleini) in the wild. For that reason
    I think it's safe to say the he's p*ssed off more wild GPO's than just
    about anyone.

    At the lecture I got the chance to ask about octo bites and why some
    species seemed more likely to bite than others. No answer to the
    second question but he made some interesting points about octo bites
    in general. Specifically, octos DECIDE to bite and, once that decision
    has been made they then decide whether to inject a venom (often a sort
    of tranquillizer but sometimes a potentially fatal toxin) or a
    digestive enzyme or nothing at all. A simple bite from most of the
    species discussed here probably wouldn't be much worse than you might
    get from a parakeet or cockatiel. A bite with venom could vary a lot
    in its effect; keep in mind that the venom is usually intended to
    subdue but not kill a prey animal that's usually an invertebrate. IOW:
    The venom isn't optimized for use on humans. A bite with digestive
    enzymes is often really bad news. The enzymes used by the octo are
    very powerful and there have been a number of cases requiring skin
    grafts and other surgical procedures to repair the damage.

    As an aside, I asked Jim whether he had ever been bitten by a GPO.
    He's been studying this species for decades and could only recall one
    near miss. He was trying to get a particular GPO out of its den and
    the animal got hold of him with the suckers on a couple of arms and
    was trying to pull him into the den (he wouldn't have fit). In order
    to get free he had to abandon his dive glove to the octo. Since the
    octo had no interest in an empty piece of neoprene he was able to
    retrieve the glove after a few minutes and discovered that the GPO had
    bitten a pretty big hole in it. Presumably, if he hadn't got his hand
    free the octo would have bitten him but it should be acknowledged that
    there are other possibilities:razz: . Other than that he's never been bitten.
    Further, the director of our center handles our GPO on a weekly basis
    in connection to the cleaning of the tank and she's never been bitten.
    OTOH: We no longer seem to keep a Red Octopus (Octopus rubescens) and
    I suspect the reason is that she was bitten almost every time she
    tried to work with one. O. rubescens bites can be most unpleasant as
    can be seen in the story at this site:
    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/tcp/octobite.html Please note that
    the story mentions two incidents with quite distinctive outcomes;
    pretty small sample size but it does tend to support what Jim Cosgrove
    told me about octos having total control over what, if anything, they
    choose to include with their bite.

    Venomously yours,

    Alex
     
  4. tjohnson

    tjohnson Wonderpus Registered

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    My Bimac Ollie bit me on the hand, when we were playing, it startled me more then hurt, the bit might have barely broke the skin, or was close. I do not recall this was almost a year ago to date. She was not trying to hurt me; I believe she was just showing play behavior. She would always show what I believe to be play behavior by nibbling or massaging me with her beak. Close to a little puppy suckling. One time it was just a little out of hand.
     
  5. Mizu

    Mizu Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    My Octo Megas tried to eat me.
    He had a hold of my thumbnail and was attempting to peel it off of my hand. While he was doing this he bit me at the corner of my thumbnail. Thumb swelled up and couldn't bend it for about 2 hours then was fine.
     
  6. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    I've been bitten three times by our midgets (the bigs octis are much more laid back and I've never had even a near miss! ). They can be pretty aggro (this is the Octopus warringa/huttoni complex). In all cases I was cleaning tanks unaware that other staff had placed an octi in the tank...until it was too late!! It felt rather like a bee sting but in my case it lasted up to three weeks! (mind you I have slow metabolism and sluggish circulation.......well that's my excuse! :grin: ) And yes there was swelling and impaired motor function (but that lasted only a few hours!).

    We have had the odd case in Dunedin where the bitee was allergic to the venom and had to be rushed to hospital in full anaphylaxis...nasty! Personally I treat all octopus as if they will bite! Even if they don't supply the venom..........well that's a sharp beak!

    J
     
  7. corw314

    corw314 Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I've never been bitten....yet....but I am very careful when working with them. My daughtor Jess was bitten feeding snails to Inklet. She only had 2 small marks on her finger. There is a video posted here of her bite.

    Carol
     
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    A long time ago, when we first started answering ceph care questions, the general opinion was that bimacs never bit. Then reports of the bites started trickling in.

    By now we know that bimacs bite once in a while, that it's a tiny bite - less than a bee sting, and that it seems to be out of curiosity or by mistake.

    I've never been bitten but my husband was nibbled on by Ollie. You could barely see the mark.

    Nancy
     
  9. 3000gtman

    3000gtman O. bimaculoides Registered

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    has anyone been biten by a caibean reef octo. because thats what i have and he is about 60 percent grown. arms are about 16 inches and mantle is about 3 1/2. he has never biten me but i do hand feed him everyday i was just wondering how painful it might be if it ever happens. but he dosent sem to want ot attack my hand. he is more interested in the food. i have let him touch me and he was just feeling my hand with 1 tentacle. let me know please
     
  10. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Don't think you have much to worry about there...when they are aggressive, they will typically raise the two front arms in a "cobra" stance prior to biting hard...I am sure that if your octo is used to hand feeding, the worst you can expect is a little nip out of curiosity.
     
  11. joefish84

    joefish84 Sepia elegans Registered

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    your talking about this stance right

    my octo does it all the time... hes kinda mean... you put your hand in and he attacks it like he does food yet i do feed him by hand all the time... i havent been bitten yet but i fear getting bit seeing that im actually allergic to shellfish so i dont know what would happen if i were to be injected with venom from one!!!
     

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  12. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Yep. I am not sure if it is meant as a warning, or as getting the arms out of the way so the little bugger can bite easier...

    Neat octo shot, btw !
     

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