Octopus Bites

Neogonodactylus

Haliphron Atlanticus
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Good advice! Species identification is difficult in the field, the amount of venom delivered by a bite can vary considerably, and people may be allergic to the compounds delivered. I would like to have an image of the wound to include in PowerPoint that I present to classes going into the field. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Roy
 

ieatfalalfel

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@BigPapa
i am not allergic, but my mother likes me to be safe. i got these 'AquaGloves' from Drs. Foster and Smith that are bite proof and go past my elbow. These might work for you.
 

DWhatley

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O. briareus Nip - corpusse

Transferred from journal

Age Guess 5-6 months

I'm not sure how fond of me he is lately, I just got bit! I think it might have been an accident. I was quickly hand feeding him a shrimp. As far as I know I'm the first to be bit? The skin is punctured the size of a pinhole and I lost maybe 1/8th of a drop of blood. No big deal but I was pretty surprised!

His feeding schedule has been a bit erratic lately. That may have also contributed.
As soon as he broke the skin I started moving around until I could get him to release me.

Initially I didn't think it was a big deal, however about 12hrs later in the shower there was a mild to moderate burn. It swelled up, but still very minor.

By the next day I did not feel it at all, but now 5 days later there is a tiny mark.

Again the bite overall was nothing. Less of a sting then a lionfish or bee.
 

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mucktopus

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Hi all! I'm checking in to see if there are any updates on octopus bites. Now that people are diving with/keeping a greater variety of cephalopods I'm putting together a quick note that drives home the point that we know very little about which octopuses have bad bites. In other words- when you go diving or you set up your tank, don't let that mimic, wunderpus, etc. bite you because we don;t know how bad it could be. If it's ok with you I'd love to summarize the bite information from this thread, and of course credit the Tonmo community. I want to post this on Tonmo, but also see if we can get it on WetPixel, so it can reach more divers.
 

DWhatley

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Article: Don't Test the Venom - Crissy Huffard

Mucktopus' article on WetPixel:

Don’t test the venom! A reminder not to touch the cephalopods you see on your dive.

By Crissy Huffard.


I was stirred to write this aticle when a friend sent me new footage of a mimic octopus in Indonesia. It’s a common scene. The octopus is sitting at its den entrance. It takes hold of the diver’s slate and the diver uses this to try to slowly tease it out to the open sand. But then before you know it, the octopus reaches for the diver’s bare hand, pulls the fingers in slowly, slowly, and eventually its beak is right over the diver’s hand. As the arms and mouth delicately feel around the hand, all I can think is “Don’t bite, Don’t bite!” and “Ack! Why in the world are you letting that octopus crawl all over your bare hand?! It could be dangerous!!”
full article:

Don't test the venom
 

bec22

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I am getting my occy on saturday - its a small reef octopus (im in Perth, WA so not sure where exactly its from) but i am actually freaking out about getting bitten now after reading these posts!!
Does it actually hurt and will it keep biting you every time you put your hand in or will it grow a custom to your hand knowing that you feed it (rumours i have heard) and what does it feel like when the suckers/tenticles/legs/arms stick to your fingers? :goofysca:
 

DWhatley

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I've not experienced skin breakage so no venom and cannot give an opinion on pain. Biting is rare for home keepers but there have been a few animals that have become aggressive, making tank cleaning difficult. I have found the ones here to be generally territorial and will warn you about "messing with their dens" but not attack. Some "play" rougher than others and it is important to keep your hand away from the beak area, regardless of how well you know the animal. If your fingers smell/taste like supper, it may easily be mistaken and get nipped even by a docile animal. Like most, if not all, wild animals, octopuses are not domesticated/domesticatable. USUALLY, if they start to put too many arms around your hand, you can gently touch the back of the arm and be released. Sometimes this takes a bit of manipulation as you only have 5 fingers but TYPICALLY, that is more than the number of arms trying to attach. The first time an octopus reaches up and touches you is usually a shock and a thrill for both parties. In spite of knowing you should not jerk your hand away, instincts on both sides usually end up with this reaction. I still unconsciously jerk a little when Octavia sneaks up on me while I clean her tank. :biggrin2: She has a habit of doing this and it is quite comical. It appears that she is just letting me know that I am invading her space and that I better behave as she is not aggressive but definitely sneaks up on me but keeping well camouflaged until she reaches out to touch. If she was inclined to bit, she could probably do so.

Do suckers feel very different than other touching experiences? I would have to say yes. Most live octopuses are not slimy and are very soft to touch (there are exceptions to the slimy but you are not likely to acquire one. Dead animals are very slimy.). The suckers are not rough but are definitely suckers and a strong animal can leave temporary marks on your forearm and back of your hand (I have never had marks on the palm area).

It is not unusual for an octopus to accept light petting between and in front of the eyes once they are not afraid of your hand. This area is above the arms and not an easy grab to attempt a bite. I don't believe they can actually see you pet them but some will come to their keepers for a small amount of very gentle handling. I see this most in older animals and suspect it has to do with scratching an itch kind of feel on older skin.
 



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