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Deadly Beauty: Austrailia's Blue Ringed Octopus
by eslori Australia

Tourists flock to Australia to see for themselves the
spectacular natural beauty that it offers. The Great
Barrier Reef that spans Australia's Northern coast is one
such place where one can see simultaneously many species of
fish and unique marine life. No everywhere you would find
rainbow-hued fish and the living coral that comprise the
reef besides other underwater flora and fauna. This network
of almost 3,000 natural reefs attracts scuba divers,
snorkelers and adventure seekers from all over the world.
This spectacular beauty, however, hides one of the most
deadly creatures of the world: the blue ringed octopus.

This small but grand creature produces two types of deadly
poison in its glands and secretes it into its saliva.
When it is angry it changes its color from dark yellow to
bright yellow with a blue ringed pattern and injects its
poison into the body of its victim. This poison is ten
thousand times more potent than cyanide. As soon as it
enters the body it paralyses the nervous system through
the bloodstream. Within seconds the essential organs of
the body like the heart and lungs stop functioning.

Adventurers engaged in diving or snorkeling on Australia's
Great Barrier Reef are most likely to come in contact with
this tiny octopus. The blue ringed octopus is by nature a
reclusive creature preferring to living in crevices or
holes, but it does venture in shallow water or small tide
pools to hunt. And this is precisely the area where humans
come into contact and are often bitten by it.

While diving or snorkeling on Australia~s Great Barrier
Reef, humans may potentially come in contact with this
small octopus. Usually, the blue ringed octopus is
reclusive and lives in crevices or holes, but can venture
into small tide pools or other shallow water to hunt. Most
humans who are bitten by the blue ringed octopus come
across the creature when it is hunting. Due to its small
size, a diver may not notice her or she is disturbing the
octopus and may not even feel its bite. A blue ringed
octopus has a sharp, beak-like mouth and has the capability
to penetrate a wetsuit. The Australian government has taken
steps to educate and warn visitors of the potential dangers
of the blue ringed octopus. Signs mark areas where the
blue ringed octopus is known to inhabit, warning divers and
swimmers to avoid contact with the small creature.

Immediate medical attention is required for a human bitten
by the blue ringed octopus. Since many victims do not feel
the bite or pain when they are bitten by it, realization
seeps in only when nausea sets in. This is followed a by a
loss of sensation and subsequent blindness. This is start
of organ failure. Due to unavailability of anti-venom, the
only mode of saving the victim's life is by working the
poison out of his or her body naturally. For this, the
victim is placed on a ventilator to assist breathing and a
heart massage has to be given for normal heart beating
during the course of paralysis setting in.

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