TikToker Unknowingly Holds The World's Deadliest Octopus

Just one of these tiny species of octopuses has enough venom to suffocate 10 adults.
Fabienne Lang
The Blue Ringed OctopusiStock

Nature has a wonderful way of letting us know when something is dangerous. From prickly spines to neon colors, the signs are usually pretty clear

However, they clearly weren't so distinct to a TikTok user who posted a video of her holding one of the world's most venomous octopuses in her hands while in Bali, Indonesia: the blue-ringed octopus

As they're only roughly five to eight inches (12 - 20cm) long, or the length of a pencil, they may look cute and unassuming, but for what they lack in size they compensate by punching well above their weight in the venom department. 

In mere minutes, this little species of octopus can kill a person. And just one of them has enough venom to suffocate 10 adults.

But before you go villainizing them, just remember that they typically prefer being left alone, not seeking to harm anyone, and they do their best to warn predators not to touch them by flashing their psychedelic 50 to 60 blue rings and turning bright yellow — something called an aposematic warning display.

The blue-ringed octopus

So you know how to differentiate a dangerous blue-ringed octopus from another harmless octopus, let's dig a little deeper into their characteristics.

First things first, though, it's worth mentioning that it's probably best to leave wildlife and such creatures alone in nature. You wouldn't want to be picked up and manhandled off from your sofa by some larger being, would you? 

Now that we've sorted that out, back to the octopus. The blue-ringed octopus can be found in tide pools and coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian oceans, from Japan to Australia, and Indonesia to India. 

They're typically unaggressive, but when provoked or in danger, they flare up their bright colors to deter predators, or an unsuspecting tourist's hand, but if that's not enough to get the point across, they'll bite you. 

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The bite itself doesn't feel like much, but what comes afterward is enough to make you run for the hills, far far away from water. 

By being bitten, the octopus dosed you with tetrodotoxin venom from its salivary glands. This is considered by many scientists to be one of the world's most potent toxins known to mammals. This tetrodotoxin enters your bloodstream, blocking small channels that usually allow sodium ions enter our nerves, which are necessary for your nerves to inform your muscles, like your diaphragm, to move.

After a short while, your diaphragm stops moving, and you ultimately die by suffocating. There's no current antidote, all that works to save you is if you're linked to a ventilator almost immediately so that it can assist you with breathing. 

Luckily, to date, there have only been three reported deaths directly caused by a blue-ringed octopus' venomous bite. This is mostly thanks to the species preferring its own peace and quiet. 

As for the lucky TikToker who didn't suffer any lethal bites, we just hope that she won't cross paths with such deadly creatures again.

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