“Small but terrible” mostly fits to describe the blue-ringed octopus. The mollusk may look cute, but a single bite can be fatal to a human. Prefectures in eastern Japan’s Kanto Region are warned of the invertebrate that has been recently spotted in the area.
“Touching it because one considers it a small and beautiful object will lead to a major problem, so extreme caution should be used,” warned a Research Institute of Marine Invertebrates official. Once bitten by a blue-ringed octopus, the person may experience neurological symptoms like numbness and slurred speech. Difficulty in breathing is also possible. In worst case scenarios, a person’s breathing may stop in 15 minutes. The octopus’ bite may also cause death within 90 minutes time.
Chiba, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, and Tokyo Prefectures may have frequent sightings of the poisonous octopus, as these are in the coastal area in the region. The blue-ringed octopus is usually found in the southern part of Japan, especially in Kyushu, but the increase in temperature of waters may have caused the invertebrate to migrate north.
The blue-ringed octopus is said to be typically brownish in colour unless provoked, when it becomes brilliant yellow and covered in fluorescent blue spots. It can grow to 15 cm, but may be found in empty cans, shells, or any possible hiding place, so officials still recommend taking precaution when near the water. Officials from places where the blue-ringed octopus has been spotted advise people who are bitten to extract the toxin with their hands by squeezing, as opposed to sucking it out, which can be very dangerous, and then immediately seeking medical attention.