Octopus Bites

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
#1
Hello all,

Dwhatley just created a thread asking for information from those of you who have experienced octopus bites.

I'm going to combine hers with one I've been working on to gather information from all of you on this subject. We can bring together a lot of personal information on bites we've experienced - I don't think you'll find this anywhere else.

Please respond if you've ever been bitten, and if you've been bitten by more than one species, please give information for each.

This is what we need to know:
Species of octopus(if known)
Age of octopus:
Size of mantle:
Type of bite:
(nibble, series of bites, whether skin broken)
How did it occur? during feeding, letting octo climb on top of hand, etc.
Reaction: bleeding, redness, other visible effects, pain, and how long did this reaction last
Comments about the bite and your reaction:
Photos
: Please post if you have any photos of the bite

Nancy

Edit - DWhatley
Adding a link to a thread in the Physiology and Biology forum that collects papers on cephalotoxin
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
#2
I'll go first. I've never been bitten, but I'll also respond for my husband Bill, who was bitten by Ollie. You can copy this and modify it with your answers, if you like.

Species of octopus: Bimac (Ollie)
Age of octopus: 6 months
Size of mantle: 3 inches
Type of bite: nibble
How did it occur? During tank cleaning, came down on top of hand, bite lasted about a second and then she tried again
Reaction: little red marks, didn't hurt much, like a little pri
Comments about the bite and your reaction: was a "gentle bite", didn't hurt long, mark gone by the next day
Photo attached
 

Tintenfisch

Architeuthis
Staff member
Moderator
#3
Species of octopus: Octopus gibbsi
Age of octopus: unknown - near full-size
Size of mantle: 25cm
Type of bite: nibble
How did it occur? Feeding/playing and during tank cleaning - didn't even notice at the time
Reaction: two small abrasions, apparently numb at first, then slightly stingy later - took the skin off
Comments about the bite and your reaction: very sneaky!

Maddeningly, I cannot find the photo anywhere, even though I saw it recently and am sure I also posted it somewhere on TONMO. I will attach it later if it turns up...

Nancy, the last three links took me to a 404 Error page?
(Note from Nancy - I've now removed all the links because they aren't working.)
 

DHyslop

Architeuthis
Supporter
#4
The experience was detailed in the first link, but I'll share the basics here, too.

Species of octopus: Bimac (Mr. O)
Age of octopus: 8 months
Size of mantle: 3 inches
Type of bite: Broken skin, no bleeding
How did it occur? Tug of war with a hungry octopus!
Reaction: considerable swelling and dull pain local to the site within minutes, swelling reduced but still present the next day.
Comments about the bite and your reaction: Mr. O took a chomp on my finger and wouldn't let go--the bite/envenomation was quite painful. He had quite a grip on me and I didn't want to injure him by tearing myself away by force. He spit my finger out in favor of a crab that my wife slipped into his arms. I just noticed that I still have a small scar five months later.

Photos attached
 

Attachments

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator
#5
Species of octopus(if known) O. cyanea

Age of octopus: Juvenile

Size of mantle: about 5 cm

Type of bite:(nibble, series of bites, whether skin broken): beak penetrated skin on hand

How did it occur? during feeding, letting octo climb on top of hand, etc.: Trying to stuff it back into a bottle on a plane.

Reaction: bleeding, redness, other visible effects, pain, and how long did this reaction last: bleeding for 5 minutes

Comments about the bite and your reaction: It hurt but I was distracted while trying to calm down the flight crew and passengers.

Roy
 

Danthemarineman

O. bimaculoides
Registered
#6
Species of octopus: O. Vulgaris
Age of octopus: ??
Size of mantle: 4 to 6 inches
Type of bite: intense locking bite
How did it occur? during collection out of water. The octo was on the deck of the boat. I was trying to pick it up to get it in some water. It wraped its arms around my forearm and locked on to me. It was painful and took some time to get off without hurting the octopus.
Reaction: Broke the skin. Pain did not last that long. No swelling
 

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
Staff member
Moderator
#7
Species of octopus(if known): O. rubescens

Age of octopus: 1 year (approx.)

Size of mantle: about 10 cm

Type of bite:(nibble, series of bites, whether skin broken)
How did it occur? during feeding, letting octo climb on top of hand, etc.: puncture by beak while collecting by hand from a tidepool.

Reaction: bleeding, redness, other visible effects, pain, and how long did this reaction last: bleeding for about 10 minutes; bee sting like with redness and local swelling. It lasted about 2 hours, still sore the next day

Comments about the bite and your reaction: I was surprised at how quickly it bit once the mouth touched my wrist.

Roy
 

Danthemarineman

O. bimaculoides
Registered
#8
Species of octopus: O. mercatoris
Age of octopus: 1 month to 1 year. I have been bit by several. All different ages.
Size of mantle: less than 1 inch
Type of bite: nibble. Did not break skin. You only feel slight pressure. Its a joke.
How did it occur? Usually during collection or packing.
Reaction. No reaction. Does not break skin
 

Animal Mother

Architeuthis
Supporter
#9
Neogonodactylus;99886 said:
Species of octopus(if known) O. cyanea

Age of octopus: Juvenile

Size of mantle: about 5 cm

Type of bite:(nibble, series of bites, whether skin broken): beak penetrated skin on hand

How did it occur? during feeding, letting octo climb on top of hand, etc.: Trying to stuff it back into a bottle on a plane.
Reaction: bleeding, redness, other visible effects, pain, and how long did this reaction last: bleeding for 5 minutes

Comments about the bite and your reaction: It hurt but I was distracted while trying to calm down the flight crew and passengers.
Roy
I'm sorry to pollute this thread with a comment, but that is HILLARIOUS!
 

Bigpapa

Wonderpus
Registered
#10
I am posting a pre-bite question, if there is another thread for this please by all means move this. Anyway, as some of you know I am setting up my tank now for my first octo. As far as the bite probability: I am allergic to shellfish, specifically the iodine. I am guessing I must be nuts to try octo husbandry?
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#11
Bigpapa;99903 said:
I am posting a pre-bite question, if there is another thread for this please by all means move this. Anyway, as some of you know I am setting up my tank now for my first octo. As far as the bite probability: I am allergic to shellfish, specifically the iodine. I am guessing I must be nuts to try octo husbandry?
There's someone else around with that issue, but I can't remember who. If you're deathly allergic to anything (this goes for anyone) I strongly recommend getting your doctor to give you a prescription for an "epi-pen" which you can carry around to give yourself an injection in case of a life-threatening anaphylactic shock reaction. There are also pills that you can carry that will help.

For an octopus specifically, you can usually avoid getting bitten by not playing quite so aggressively as the folks who have reported bites here; a lot of people interact with octos with a feeding stick or toys, which is similarly fun but less risky for bites. I think there's a post where Neogonodactylus describes the protocol he uses in his lab to make sure that risks are minimized around the blue rings he works with for research, but I can't seem to find it...
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
Staff member
Moderator
#13
Species of octopus: Mercatoris (dwarf)
Age of octopus: 5 months
Size of mantle: 3/4 inch (2 cm)
Type of bite: aggressive
How did it occur? Attempting to teach gentle contact and to associate my finger with a full belly. I have been offering my finger to be touched after feeding in hopes that when the babies are released to the tank they will come out for food when they see my finger but not mistake my finger for food.
Reaction: numbness and slight burning on finger pad to the first joint. No skin breakage (I don't think they can, at least at this age)
Comments: I have been experimenting with this for about a week (not everyday). Three of the 5 have reacted to my finger by grabbing it and sucking for all they are worth. After a few second, two of them simply let go. One of these two will now gently reach out and touch my finger once, sometimes twice but have no more contact (this was similar to the behavior of its mother while brooding).

The one I played with tonight reacted more agressively. It grabbed and held on for over five minutes, staying in its shell and pulling it up into the water column. Initially I could feel it sucking (sort of a pulsing) and trying to bite (I think I felt the beak but not as something sharp, just as a hole). When it could not break the skin, it moved along my finger tip to the nail and tried again there and between the nail and the finger (I think this one is ready for a crab). Once it decided it couldn't eat me, it decided my finger made a good doorway for its shell and discontinued the sucking action and just held on tightly. I tried Dan's wife's trick (unknown to me at the time) of trying to give it other food but eventually, I had to gently disengage it with my thumb.

I can't see or feel any bite marks but the finger tip is warm and has a slight stinging sensation throughout the first joint. I noticed this effect with one of the other ones but the feeling has lasted longer and is more noticable.
 

cthulhu77

Titanites
Supporter
#14
Species of octopus: O. digueti
Age of octopus:6 months
Size of mantle:4"
Type of bite:(nibble, series of bites, whether skin broken): Hard puncturing bite
How did it occur? during feeding, letting octo climb on top of hand, etc.: During capture
Reaction: bleeding, redness, other visible effects, pain, and how long did this reaction last: bleeding, swelling, loss of motor functions after about 15 minutes that lasted for 24 hours (in the hand that was bitten)
Comments about the bite and your reaction: She was just trying to get away...I was trying to take a few photos!
Photos: yes I have some...where the h they are, I don't know...will keep on looking.I'd posted them on Tonmo before...under O.digueti
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Supporter
#15
Tintenfisch;99919 said:
I think Jean might have some seafood allergies?
Nope......close though I'm REALLY allergic to peanuts. I carry an adrenalin kit. Peanuts don't have to bite me though :grin:

Species of octopus: Octopus warringa/huttoni complex
Age of octopus: unknown (wild caught) but adult
Size of mantle: 5cm
Type of bite: aggressive
How did it occur? cleaning tank, picked up shell den, unaware that octopus had been put into the tank.

Comments: broke skin, numbness, tingling fingers, loss of fine motor control to fingers, some nuerogenic pain, lasted ~ 3 weeks.

Initial: blue/red in face due to holding back expletives so as not to upset the family who were watching me "play with the octopus"

Lasting effects: ALL staff now remember to record on the tank stock records when they introduce a new animal to the tank.......I :grad: at some length!!!

J
 

corw314

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Moderator
#16
Species of octopus Bimac
Age of octopus: 4 months
Size of mantle:1 1/2 "
Type of bite: Nibble - little redness
How did it occur? During feeding by my daughter
Reaction:Slight hysteria but just very tiny red marks
Comments about the bite and your reaction: Jess was more upset than I.
Photos: Video posted on Tonmo...


And just a quick response, if you are allergic to shellfish, there still is no reason you can't keep one, just don't get bit. Don't give the octopus the opportunity. I have had probably 15+ octopuses in my home over the years, am not allergic, but very cautious and careful.
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
#17
Has anyone out there ever been bitten by O. briareus
or A. aculeatus? People are keeping these species now, perhaps they're not much into biting.

Nancy
 

joefish84

Sepia elegans
Registered
#18
im the one thats allergic to shellfish also. i have not been bitten yet but i also take the precaution of wearing a neoprene glove when handling my octopus. its also smart aside from the epipen to carry the behnydryl powder capsules with you. the epi pen requires that you have to go to the ER within 30 minutes after sticking yourself which in my case im usually hours from a hospital. if you take the behnydryl capsules, 2 of them, and pop them open in your mouth it immediatly goes into your system unlike the regular pills or the liquid. it will cause your mouth to go numb but it will save your life. ive been told by several doctors about this method and have used it several times myself out in the middle of the woods and water and it has worked every time within an hour completely clearing you up execpt for the drowsiness effect of the behnydryl. so just as a precaution though i would wear a glove.

if youre allergic to shellfish it is due to the iodine in them for the most part which is why im also allergic to all nuts. i would imagine though that the venom from an octopus would have a greater effect on us over normal people.
 

Lime

O. vulgaris
Registered
#19
DHyslop;99882 said:
The experience was detailed in the first link, but I'll share the basics here, too.

Species of octopus: Bimac (Mr. O)
Age of octopus: 8 months
Size of mantle: 3 inches
Type of bite: Broken skin, no bleeding
How did it occur? Tug of war with a hungry octopus!
Reaction: considerable swelling and dull pain local to the site within minutes, swelling reduced but still present the next day.
Comments about the bite and your reaction: Mr. O took a chomp on my finger and wouldn't let go--the bite/envenomation was quite painful. He had quite a grip on me and I didn't want to injure him by tearing myself away by force. He spit my finger out in favor of a crab that my wife slipped into his arms. I just noticed that I still have a small scar five months later.

Photos attached
Sorry for spam, but jesus that one looks like it hurt lol.
 

Rick McWilliams

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
#20
I was collecting shells while snorkeling at Catalina island. I collected a 2" red snail shell, and placed it inside my wet suit. A few minutes later I felt a bit or sting on my chest inside the wet suit. After I removed my wet suit there was a cute brown octopus with a body about the size of a grape and a tentacle span of 2 inches. Broken skin, some bleeding, very little pain. It transferred to my finger and I put it in the water.
 

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