This site contains a wealth of information relating to the many aspects of scuba diving in the UK.
 

Latest News

Weather and Tides

 

Glossary

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  #

 

Search the site

 

Harmful Creatures

Every diver needs to be able to identify common underwater hazards and know how to react if the unthinkable happens.


Introduction

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:

  1. Traumatogenic
  2. Venomous
  3. Electrogenic
  4. Poisonous to eat

Traumatogenic animals

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 shark attacks. 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 one of 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 vertebrates.

  • 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 infected.

  • 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.

Cnidarians

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.

All cnidarian 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 antihistamine creams.

  • 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.

  • Box JellyFishJellyfish - 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 so.

Molluscs

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 ShellCone 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 immediately.

  • Blue Ringed OctopusCephalopods - 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.

Bristle Worms

Bristle wormSegmented 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.

Echinoderms

The echinoderms are a very large group of marine invertebrates, characterized by radial symmetry as adults, often with a pentamerous (five-rayed) body form.

  • Crown of Thorns StarfishStarfish- 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 Red Sea Urchinshallow 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.

Venomous Vertebrates

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.

  • Blue Spotted RayStingrays - 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

Scorpion FishScorpion 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 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.

Weever Fish

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.

Snakes

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 spasms).

Electrogenic Animals

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 RayElectric 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.

  • StartgazerStargazers - 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

  • Oysters 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 10 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.

  • Masked Puffer Fish 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).

 

 

 

 

Featured Article

"Do you know about the history of diving?" "How it evolved to its present day?"

Review the "Brook Bond" tea cards for a fascinating insight.

[read more >>]

 

Related Articles

This section includes:

 

 

Copyright UKDivers.net 2004/5. All Rights Reserved.
Page last updated on April 20, 2010
Webmaster : Site Map : Disclaimer