Every diver needs to be able to identify common underwater hazards and know how to react if the unthinkable happens.
Most underwater creatures are not harmful, but some are and divers need to know the difference. It is good practice in any event, not to touch or get too close. A few are deadly; a Box jellyfish for example, have been known to kill people within three minutes, blue-ringed octopus in thirty minutes and pufferfish (eaten) in seventeen minutes.
Underwater creatures can be harmful in a number of ways:
- Poisonous to eat
Traumatogenic animals are those which could possibly cause a wound of some type i.e., inflict a
bite, sting, and puncture.
- Sharks -
Any diver who has seen the movie "Open water" or "Jaws" will understand the anxiety that sharks can generate. Fortunately, predatory stealth attacks by large sharks are very rare and
very few divers have been attacked underwater. (reassured? me neither!).
Divers making contact with "harmless" sharks (tail or fin grabbing) can provoke
Brightly coloured or shiny metallic
objects, blood, food (dead fish), or low frequency vibrations may attract
sharks. Avoid murky water
inhabited by sharks in which there is poor visibility. Use caution when swimming during
late afternoon and at night in areas where sharks are apt to be feeding. If you encounter a
shark, move with slow purposeful movements. Simply seeing a large shark is not a cause
to leave the water or abort the dive. Most sharks can be safely observed in all of their
natural beauty and grace if the diver is not threatening or engaging in unwise behaviour
such as feeding the sharks. If a large shark appears to be too inquisitive, make every
effort to get out of the water, but do not panic. If you can exit the water rapidly, do so.
Keep your eyes on the shark and never turn your back. Remember you are the most
vulnerable at the surface. If you have enough air and you cannot easily exit the water,
you and your buddy should seek a safe position on the bottom, with a solid object such as
a reef or ledge behind you. Keep the shark in view. If it becomes threatening, fend it off
with any kind of object that you can safely use. Sharks, like other predators, can be
discouraged by "prey" items that fight back. A sharp blow on the shark's nose or around
its eyes may cause it to swim off after easier prey.
Shark feeding is a very controversial activity. The general opinion of biologists is that
shark feeding causes changes in the behaviour of wild fish (including sharks) that may
have a negative effect on the fish's life and the reef habitat in general. In addition, shark
feeding may cause sharks to associate humans with food. Both shark feeding and
chumming are environmentally irresponsible activities.
- Stingrays -
Although stingrays cause a traumatic puncture wound that may become infected,
most of the pain associated with a stingray wound is related to the toxin that is contained
in the sheath of the spine. For a more complete discussion, see the section on venomous
Barracuda - These fish rarely attack humans. They are attracted to anything entering the water,
particularly brightly coloured and silvery objects. Relying almost entirely on sight, they
may follow divers for hours. If they do attack, they usually make one quick, fierce strike,
which, although serious, is rarely fatal. Barracuda can reach a length of five feet.
- Moray Eels -
Moray eels occur in temperate and tropical reef habitats. Divers generally see them only
as a head protruding from a crevice or small cave. Morays are not aggressive. They
must constantly open and close their mouths to force water over their gills, and since they
have large needlelike teeth they appear threatening. Moray eels have numerous sharp, fang-like teeth encased in a narrow muscular jaw, that are capable of inflecting a painful
and deep bite. In addition, when a moray bites it generally holds on tightly and twists
around. Moray eels generally only bite humans when provoked or if they make a
mistake. They have very poor eyesight and when a diver is close to a moray they should
not make threatening movements with their hands. In addition, when diving in reef areas,
do not stick your hand or fingers into crevices or caves unless you are sure that there is
nothing dangerous in there.
Do not feed Morays or any other creature for that matter. This will encourage Moray eels to go to divers and may
result in a serious wound. Moray bites must be treated to stop bleeding and then
the bitten person must seek medical treatment as the numerous deep bites may become
- Grouper -
Grouper are not aggressive and not dangerous animals. If you harass or threaten a
large grouper (or any fish) underwater, they react by becoming defensive, and they can
bite. Do not try to touch fish underwater. Keep in mind that grouper conditioned by
humans to accept food may become aggressive.
- Other Fish - Most marine fish have powerful jaws with either bony plates or teeth that can
severely injure fingers. Do not feed marine fish or intentionally place your fingers in
their mouth. Remember too that some fish e.g., the trigger fish, can get quite vicious when protecting their eggs. Some fish have particularly strong jaws and can easily bite of a finger. Other fish such as the surgeon fish have at the base of the tails, razor sharp blades which can inflict nasty cuts. No venom, however, is involved.
- Marine Mammals -
In areas where seals, dolphins and sea lions live, treat these creatures with
respect and keep your distance. They are not the same as the tame ones in the zoo or circus,
a bite from these can be very nasty.
- Crustaceans - Crabs and particularly lobsters can give a nasty nip when provoked or cornered.
- Venomous invertebrates - Many invertebrates contain venom which is used either as a defensive mechanism against
possible predators or as a means of immobilizing prey prior to consuming them. The
reactions of these venomous species on humans can range from a mild irritation, to
extreme pain, and even to death. A good rule of thumb as a diver practicing good
conservation measures is to not touch anything underwater, particularly if you do not
know what it is or whether or not it is poisonous.
- Sponges -
Sponges were regarded as plants for many centuries, sponges were classified as animals in 1835.
Many brightly coloured sponges, generally red, yellow, or orange, can inflict painful skin
irritations if touched. During handling, the skin is exposed to chemical irritants, which
may lead to a painful allergic-type, contact dermatitis. The sponge is also filled with
calcareous or siliceous spicules that can rub off on your hands or skin and and cause
irritant spicule dermatitis. When the spicules penetrate the skin they may carry small
amounts of toxin with them (much like a tattoo artist injecting ink under your skin). Mild
itching to burning and great amounts of pain may ensue. Remove spicules by soaking the
wound in white vinegar for 15 minutes, drying the skin, and using the sticky side of
adhesive tape to remove them. Use hydrocortisone cream for the irritation and if the rash
worsens seek medical attention.
This group includes the hydroids, sea anemones, corals and jellyfishes. The cnidarians all
possess tentacles equipped with stinging nematocysts, which are located on the outer
layer of the tentacles. The nematocyst is a small in size (rarely exceed 50 microns), venom-filled capsule (see right) containing a
hollow coiled thread which, when triggered, is used to inject poison (green area) into the body of its
prey. Brushing with a cnidarian triggers many thousand skin injections, the severity of
which depends upon the species touched and the individual’s sensitivity.
stings should be treated by removing any tentacles with tweezers, and using either a weak
ammonia or a weak vinegar solution to denature (break down the proteins) the nematocysts. A paste of unseasoned
meat tenderiser (10-15 minutes only) may also help relieve symptoms. Do not rub sand
on the wound or rinse with fresh water, it will cause unfired nematocysts to fire. Serious
cnidarian stings should have ice packs or anaesthetic administered; the victim be
monitored for signs of shock or respiratory distress and evacuated to an emergency care
facility. Victims may need to be injected with epinephrine from an allergy kit to prevent
suffocation from anaphylactic shock. Milder cases can use oral antihistamines or
- Hydroids - Fire coral is a hydroid that can cause a painful skin rash. These common coral-like
animals are important in the development of reefs, forming upright, blade-like or
branching calcareous growths or encrustation over corals and other objects. The hydroid
class also includes the Portuguese man-o’war and many other harmless animals.
- Jellyfish - Jellyfish are free swimming, pelagic animals with radial symmetry. They
swim by regular contractions of their bell-shaped gelatinous bodies. Like many sea
animals they go through seasonal breeding cycles, which means the risk from contact
with them can be reduced by respecting local proliferation. While most jellyfish are
capable of stinging, only a few are considered a major hazard. Of these the Indo-Pacific
box jellyfish, Chitonex, is the most dangerous. Within the UK jellyfish
seldom affect divers, but a smaller lion's mane jellyfish can be most distressing.
- Corals and Sea Anemones - The class Anthozoa is contains two orders: Alcyonaria, which includes all soft
corals, sea ferns, sea pens and sea pansies; and Zoantharia, which include sea anemones
and corals. Though often extremely beautiful, corals are often fragile and razor sharp and
can inflict severe wounds on persons who brush against them. Most anthozoans are
harmless to people but a few have stinging cells dangerous to people and many corals.
Touching corals is destructive to the
animal and the coral reef as they grow very slowly. Casual contact with coral can cause
mild to severe reactions because the sharp coral skeletons abrade or cut the skin and
allow the coral mucus and bacteria to enter the wound. Wash thoroughly, treat with antibiotic creams and see a physician if the wound does not begin to heal within a day or
Unsegmented animals with a distinct and well-developed head, ventral muscular
foot and soft body often contained in a calcareous shell. This large and successful
phylum occupies most terrestrial and aquatic habitats, but only the cone shells and the
cephalopods have been shown to be harmful to people.
- Cone Shells - They have characteristic cone-shaped shells and like the other gastropods, a distinct
head, “tentacles” with eyes and a strong fleshy foot. The cone has a siphon tube to
sample water (to detect prey), as well as a long proboscis to capture and seize prey. In
this family the proboscis is variable in shape and carries a poison tooth or dart used to
spear and immobilize small fish and other items of food. The risk of being stung by the
cone shell is of particular concern to swimmers and divers, but only of the swimmer or
diver picks up a living cone. Cones are found throughout the world in tropical and warm temperate
waters, but the only really dangerous cones occur in the Indian and Pacific
Oceans. Cones are typically found on sandy bottoms in and around reefs. If a diver is stung, restrict circulation to the affected part of the body with a tourniquet or other wrap (not tight enough to stop blood flow). Loosen bandage for
90 seconds every 10 minutes. Or place a pressure bandage directly over the wound.
Monitor for signs of shock or cardiac or respiratory arrest. Seek medical attention
- Cephalopods - Few marine creatures have received greater attention from fiction writers than has
the octopus. The result is that this remarkable, shy and intelligent creature is greatly
overrated as a hazard to swimmers. This so-called “demon of the depths” is generally
small and retiring in habit and certainly does not deserve its reputation. The only octopus
species regularly fatal to humans are the blue-ringed and blue-spotted octopus found on
the reefs of Australia and other Indo-Pacific tropical reefs. All octopus are poisonous to some extent and will bite if threatened,
although they generally will swim away from a diver. Susceptibility to the toxins is
dependent upon individual reaction, and pain and neurological symptoms may occur. If
an octopus bites you, wash the wound with soap and water. Hot water may provide relief
from the toxin. Seek medical attention if symptoms do not improve. If a blue-ringed
octopus bites you, place a pressure bandage over the wound or the entire limb. Prevent
limb from moving by splinting it. Be prepared to provide breathing assistance if the
victim goes into respiratory arrest and seek medical attention immediately.
Segmented worms, or annelids, are organisms that have a long body, which is
usually segmented. They are generally found under rocks or rumaging around during the day. Each
segment has two bristle-like tufts of setae and in some species these setae can sting.
Other species have strong jaws, which can inflict a painful bite. The bristle worm’s
hollow bristles are reported to be venomous. Stings may result in intense skin swelling,
with a burning sensation or numbness. The bristles can penetrate thin gloves, so these
worms should be handled carefully or, more appropriately, not at all. Remove setae with
tape and soak the wound in white vinegar, dilute ammonia, hot water, or a paste of
unseasoned meat tenderiser for 10-15 minutes. Use topical steroids for inflammation.
The echinoderms are a very large group of marine invertebrates, characterized by
radial symmetry as adults, often with a pentamerous (five-rayed) body form.
Only the families Acanthasteridae, whose members feed on coral colonies and have
12 to 18 arms or rays with large pointed spines, are serious hazards to swimmers and then
only if the swimmers touch or step on the sea star. Injury from their spines will swell and
become numb. The victim may experience swollen lymph glands and brief muscular
paralysis. The victim may also become nauseous. Treat a crown of thorns
wound by immersing the wound in hot water (110-114 ° F or 43.3 – 45 C) for 30-90
minutes. Remove spines if present, use topical pain relievers, and seek medical attention
for further treatment or if an infection develops.
- Sea Urchins -
Are common in all seas and are found at all depths. They can be covered with sharp
spines that are hazardous to swimmers in shallow reef areas. Diadema antillarum is the
common black urchin, the long
spines of Diadema are capable of easily penetrating wetsuits and gloves. They are found
under reef ledges during the day and come out to feed at night. Other tropical urchins in
the Pacific (genus Tripneustes) inject toxin with defensive structures called pedicellariae.
In the northern Gulf of Mexico the short-spined urchins Lytichinus variegatus (red) and
Arbacia (black) are the most commonly found urchins. All urchins are harmless if the
diver does not touch, step, or kneel on them. Other relatives of urchins such as the sand
dollar, sea biscuit and heart urchin are not harmful to divers. Urchin wounds should be
cleaned and, if painful, soaked in hot water. Do not attempt to remove the spines that
break off under the skin.
- Sea Cucumbers - Are common in all tropical seas at most depths. They are sluggish creatures that
when provoked can eviscerate their sticky intestines leaving the unsuspecting diver with a
mess on their hands. They are otherwise harmless.
Fish are the most diverse group of vertebrates in the world, ranging in habitat from high
mountains and hot thermal springs to the deepest ocean depth. With over 27,000 species,
it is not surprising that fish have evolved numerous defensive mechanisms that are
potentially dangerous to swimmers. Over 1,000 species of fish are either poisonous to eat
or venomous. Most poisonous fish inject poison through spines and then only when
deliberately handled or provoked.
- Stingrays -
Of the many species of rays, the most bothersome to swimmers and divers are the
stingrays. There are thousands of wounds from stingrays each year.
Stingrays are very common in shallow water, particularly during the summer when they
breed and are more active. When walking in the surf, in the shallows, and especially on
shallow grass flats, stepping on a stingray may result in a painful sting in the foot or
lower leg. Stingrays are not aggressive and only use their defensive sting as a reaction to
being threatened. When stepped upon, the ray will lash upwards with its tail. Attached
to the base of the tail is a serrated, grooved, spine that can penetrate the skin (usually the
foot or calf) of the offender. The spines are barbed and difficult to remove. The spine
also carries a toxic epidermis in its groove that produces quite a lot of pain. If a stingray
stings you immerse the wound in water as hot as you can stand for 15 minutes at a time to
alleviate the pain. Hot towels will also help if the wound cannot be easily immersed. If
the spine is well imbedded do not try to remove it and seek medical attention. If you care
for the wound yourself, make sure that the wound is thoroughly washed with soap and
water and that a general antibiotic cream is applied after drying the wound. If signs of
infection appear seek medical attention. Avoid stepping on stingrays by shuffling your
feet when you walk in shallow water.
Scorpion fish (family Scorpaenidae) are among the most widespread of venomous
fishes and second to stingrays in cases of envenomation. They introduce toxins into
wounds when using their defensive spines. Spines are located on dorsal and pectoral fins.
Several hundred species of scorpion fish exist and representatives are found in all seas.
The most dangerous scorpion fish are found in tropical waters. Many of these fish are
sedentary and lie on the bottom immobile and camouflaged. Venomous scorpion fish
have been divided into three main groups on the basis of the structure of their venom
organs: Lion fish and zebra fish of the Pterois type (Indo-Pacific and Red Sea);
scorpion fish – Scorpaena, etc., widely distributed; and stonefish – Synanceja of the
western Pacific and Indian oceans. Divers
encounter these camouflaged fish by accidentally touching or kneeling on the fish.
Scorpion fish wounds can cause numbness, local paralysis, intense pain, nausea, and in
the case of the stone fish even death. Wounds should be immersed in hot water for at
least 30 minutes. Wounds to the chest or abdomen require medical attention. Stone fish
victims should be watched for signs of weakness, respiratory difficulty or cardiac arrest.
- Lion Fish - Lion fish are among the most beautiful and ornate of all coral reef fishes.
They are generally found in shallow tropical seas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the Red Sea,
hovering around crevices or at times swimming gracefully in the open. Frequently seen
swimming in pairs, they rarely take avoidance action when approached and are not
aggressive. In Guam, these beautiful fish are called Turkey fish. Many injuries are caused by the divers not knowing they are close and placing their hand on them or kneeling on them. When agitated they "fire" their spines into their attacker and the wounds can be excruciatingly painful. Be particularly wary on night dives as the lion fish is more active and may follow the torch lights. Treatment consists of immersing the affected part in the hottest bearable water and get medical attention.
- Scorpion Fish -
Are found from the intertidal zone to depths of 90 m (300 feet) and for the most part
live in bays, along sandy beaches, rocky coastlines and coral reefs. Their camouflage
colouring and secretive habit of hiding in crevices, among debris, under rocks or in
seaweed make them difficult to see. When removed from the water they erect the spiny
dorsal fin and flare the armed gill covers pectoral, pelvic and anal fins.
- Stone Fish -
Largely shallow water dwellers and are commonly found in tide pools and shallow
reef areas of the tropical Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. They habitually lie
motionless in coral crevices, under rocks, in holes or buried in the sand or mud. They are
very well camouflaged and require extreme agitation to induce movement. Stonefish
wounds may require antivenom and can be fatal, so extreme care must be taken with a
victim of the stonefish. Watch for cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrest and seek
immediate medical attention after providing first aid.
The Weever Fish a sandy coloured fish that can be found around the UK coast in shallow, warm and sandy waters. It can grow to 10cm long and has 5-7 poisonous spines protruding from its dorsal fin. It frequently lies partially submerged in the sand with its spines exposed.
Typically the casualty usually complains of having trodden of something sharp under the water, followed by a severe stinging sensation. At first glance there appears to be no wound, but on closer inspection two pin pricks about 1cm apart are visible with slight reddening around them.
Treatment includes heating the area with the hottest water bearable and get medical attention.
Venomous snakes are a more widespread hazard in freshwater than in the sea. Avoid all large snakes that appear threatening. Snake bites should be treated by applying
a pressure bandage and the victim should remain as inactive as possible. Immediately
seek medical attention.
- Sea Snakes -
There are 50 different species of sea snakes found only in the tropical Indo-Pacific
region. All are venomous and capable of inflicting fatal bites, but they are not aggressive
and generally do not bite humans unless handled. They may become aggressive during
mating season or when guarding their nest. Sea snake bites are serious in only 25% of
cases, since the bite is a defensive one and the snake usually injects only a small dose of
venom. Symptoms can include general malaise or anxiety, difficulty in speaking or
swallowing, vomiting, aching or pain on movement, weakness (progressing within 1-2
hours to an inability to move, beginning in the legs), muscle spasms, droopy eyelids,
thirst, shock, and respiratory distress. If a person is bitten, apply a pressure bandage,
keep the victim immobile as is possible, and evacuate them to medical facilities.
Anti-venom is given only when serious symptoms begin to manifest (e.g., painful muscle
Electricity is an important constituent in the metabolic activity of living things. The amount of current is normally so small that it can be detected only by sensitive instruments. Electrical fish posses a specialized organ that discharges electricity through the water at surprisingly high voltages and is used to stun prey. There are about 250 species of fish known to possess specialized electric organs capable of delivering painful electric shock. Of the fish that have electric organs, Electric Eels and Catfish live in freshwater, while Stargazers and Torpedo rays are marine species. Divers are not likely to see an electric eel unless they dive in the Amazon River, but electric rays are found in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
- Electric Rays - The electric rays are found in tropical and temperate marine waters. Although most species prefer shallow waters, some members are found at moderately deep depths. Instead of being pointed at the head end with a whip like tail, electric rays are broadly rounded and have a tail that is thicker and flattened from side to side. The electric ray is a slow moving animal and uses its tail to swim slowly. These rays are easy to avoid and are not aggressive. The electric shock is delivered from modified muscles near the front of the body through the skin surface, and the polarity of the electric organ is positive on the dorsal surface and negative on the underside. Divers can avoid obtaining a shock of up to 200 volts (enough to stun a diver) by simply leaving the electric ray alone.
- Stargazers - The Stargazers are a small group of carnivorous bottom-dwelling marine fish. They are characterized by having a large cuboid head, an almost vertical mouth with fringed lips and an elongated, conical and compressed body. Their electric organs are said to be modified eye muscles and since they spend a considerable portion of their time buried in the sand or mud with only their eyes and a portion of their mouth protruding, they present a possible menace to intruders.
Invertebrates that are poisonous to eat
- Molluscs - Throughout the world, mollusc's are eaten in large quantities, especially the bivalve
mollusc's, such as oysters, which are considered a gourmet’s delight. Yet problems are
encountered with eating mollusc's. This is due to the feeding habits of the bivalves. They
filter small particles from the water through extensive gills and then concentrate them in
the body. Bivalves, which can thrive in polluted estuarine waters, accumulate all
manners of pollutants. Shellfish should only be consumed from safe, tested shellfish
grounds. Bivalves can be the source of enteric viruses that cause hepatitis or diarrheic
diseases, and can also be the source of bacterial diseases such as cholera, salmonella, and
vibrio vulnificus. Bivalves also filter toxic algae from the water and can be the source of
a variety of toxic conditions such as paralytic, diarrhetic, or amnesiatic shellfish
poisoning. Some of these conditions can cause permanent mental damage or even death,
and shellfish should not be harvested when bans related to red tide and other toxic algal
blooms are in effect. During these bans even whelks (large marine snails) that feed on
bivalves may become toxic and should be avoided.
- Marine Arthropods -
The phylum Arthropoda (invertebrate animals with jointed legs) is the largest single
group in the animal kingdom, having more than 800,000 species. Relatively little is
known about the poisonous marine arthropods. However, amnesiatic poisonings have
also been found to be possible in some crabs, probably because they consumed bivalves
containing algal toxins. Tropical reef crabs may also be suspect.
Vertebrates that are Poisonous to Eat
While there are many cases of humans suffering gastrointestinal complaints as a
result of eating marine fish, in most cases this is traced to secondary contamination of the
food. However, there are numerous species in the tropics, which are poisonous. Some
tropical reef fish may contain toxins, which prove fatal to humans. The following is a list
of ichthyosarcotoxism’s or poisoning resulting from eating fish flesh.
- Elasmobranch Poisoning - Caused by eating sharks, rays and some of their
relatives (Black tip Reef Shark, Greenland Shark, Seven-gilled and Six-gilled Sharks,
Great White Shark and Smooth Hammerhead Shark).
- Ciguatera Fish Poisoning - Caused by eating various species of tropical reef
fish. The most commonly involved species are barracuda, grouper, snappers, jacks,
wrasses, parrot fish, and surgeon fish. Toxins come from certain algae eaten by the
fish or by predators eating fish that have consumed such algae. No method outside of
the laboratory exists to determine whether or not a fish is toxic, and its occurrence
within a species of fish is unpredictable, although oversize fish are more likely to be
toxic than smaller ones. Cooking does not destroy the toxin. Internal organs are
more toxic than the flesh. Signs and symptoms include numbness and tingling of
lips and tongue, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness,
reversal of thermal sensation (hot and cold reversal), muscle/joint aching,
nervousness, metallic taste in mouth, visual disturbances, extreme fatigue, muscle
paralysis, convulsions, headache, dizziness, and heart failure. No definitive first aid
exists. If symptoms occur early (<4 hours) induce vomiting. Seek medical attention
for all suspected cases. Mannitol in IV form is the treatment of choice for severe
neurological or cardiac symptoms. Other symptoms can be treated with
antihistamines and anti nausea medication. Death is rare. Be prepared to administer
Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
- Scombroid fish poisoning - Some scombroid (mostly dark fleshed) fish i.e., tuna,
bonito, mackerel, bluefish that have been exposed to sunlight or have been left standing
at room temperature for several hours may develop a toxin that is a type of histamine.
Such fish may have a peppery or sharp taste or may be completely normal in taste, colour,
or appearance. Within a few minutes after eating the fish, symptoms of this type of
poisoning develop. Symptoms usually clear within 8-12 hours, although fatigue and
headache may persist for a few days. Signs and symptoms are nausea, vomiting, flushing
of face, severe headache, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, dizziness, massive red welts, severe
itching, severe dehydration (thirst), shortness of breath, bronchospasm, cardiac
palpitation, inability to swallow, and shock. The victim should seek medical aid as soon
as possible. Watch for respiratory distress. It may be necessary to use an epinephrine
injection to prevent respiratory blockage. Oral antihistamines may work in less severe
cases and will also limit itching.
- Tetrodotoxin “Puffer” Fish Poisoning - Certain puffers (blowfish,
porcupinefish, globefish, swellfish) contain tetrodotoxin, one of the most potent poisons
found in nature. These fish are prepared as a delicacy called “fugu” in Japan by specially
trained and licensed chefs. The toxin is found in the entire fish with the greatest
concentration in the liver, intestines, reproductive organs, and skin. After eating the fish,
the victim may experience symptoms in as little as ten minutes or as much as a few hours.
Because these toxins can be fatal to humans, it is wise to avoid eating puffers. Signs and
symptoms of tetrodotoxin poisoning include: numbness and tingling around the mouth,
light headedness, drooling, sweating, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness,
difficulty walking, paralysis, difficulty breathing, and collapse. Treatment includes
transport to a hospital. Monitor victim continuously and prepare to assist breathing.
There is no antidote and the victim will need sophisticated medical treatment.
- Turtle Poisoning (chelonitoxication) - Caused by eating the flesh of certain
marine turtles (Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Leatherback Turtle).