Venomous marine creatures include the blue-ringed octopus, stonefish, stinging fish, and cone shells.
Image of a Blue-ringed Octopus The blue-ringed octopus may be found in rock pools, and bites can occur when people touch them or stand on them. The octopus shows their blue markings only when disturbed. Bites from a blue-ringed octopus are potentially fatal. For suspected blue-ringed octopus bites, call 000 for an ambulance, use the pressure-immobilisation technique, and have the patient taken immediately to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.
Jellyfish Box jellyfish are found mostly in the warm waters north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Stings are potentially fatal.
Douse the tentacles with vinegar, and then call 000 for an ambulance. If the patient isn't breathing start "mouth-to-mouth" resuscitation. Do not attempt to remove the tentacles. Do not rub the sting.
Blue bottles can be found in all coastal waters. The sting can cause immediate intense pain followed by redness at the site.
Remove any remaining adherent tentacles by washing the area with water. Soaking the affected area in hot but not scolding water (ideally 45 C) for 20 minutes may relieve the pain. This is not suitable for infants, the very elderly, or those with poor skin condition as hot water may burn the skin.
Do not use vinegar. If pain persists, patient should see their local doctor.
Irukandji syndrome is caused by a sting from the jellyfish, which is found mainly in northern Australia. Although the majority of cases are not life threatening, irukandji syndrome can be a potentially lethal condition. The initial sting is often innocuous and usually not felt, but this can develop into a progressive syndrome (over minutes to hours) characterized by restlessness, sweating, nausea, vomiting and severe pain affecting the limbs, back, abdomen or chest.
For suspected irukandji syndrome, irrigate the site with water and then douse with vinegar. The patient should be transported to the nearest hospital for medical assessment.
Other jellyfish can produce painful stings. Remove any remaining adherent tentacles by washing with water, and then apply ice packs to relieve the pain. The patient should see their local doctor if the pain is severe and not relieved by pain-killers.
Image of a Stone fish and a Butterfly Cod Stone fish are found in all coastal waters and some fresh water sites. Although there are no reported deaths in Australia, stone fish stings can be potentially fatal. Stone fish spine penetration can result in severe and persistent pain and in these cases the patient should be transported to the nearest hospital immediately for treatment.
Antivenom is available.
First aid for stone fish stings involves washing the wound site immediately and soaking the affected area in hot but not scolding water (ideally 45 C) for up to 90 minutes may relieve the pain. This is not suitable for infants, the very elderly, or those with poor skin condition as hot water may burn the skin.
Other stinging fish
Stinging fish, including butterfly cod, scorpion cod, cobbler, catfish, happy moments and flathead, can produce painful injuries. For these stings, soaking the affected area in hot but not scolding water (ideally 45 C) for up to 90 minutes may relieve the pain. If pain persists, the sting has caused a deep wound, or other symptoms are present, the patient should see their local doctor.
Image of a Cone ShellThe cone shell has a small "harpoon" that can penetrate the skin and cause envenomation. The venom can very quickly cause life-threatening paralysis. For all stings from a cone shell call 000 for an ambulance, use the pressure-immobilisation technique, and have the patient taken immediately to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.
Dangerous marine life
Shark attacks are very rare, but happen far more than we would like, but it is important to swim between the red-and-yellow flags, where lifesavers keep a watch for sharks. If a shark is spotted, lifesavers will sound a siren or ring a bell, put up the red-and-white flag and tell you to leave the water immediately.
- after dusk or before dawn when sharks are most active
- with your dog
- in murky waters, estuary mouths or canal
- where fish are being cleaned.
Queensland is home to several species of dangerous tropical marine stingers, including the box jellyfish and the Irukandji.
Marine stingers are present in tropical Queensland waters all year round but the risk is higher during the marine stinger season (November–May). They also can happen in and around Brisbane, so do not get complacent.
Always swim at patrolled beaches, between the red-and-yellow flags
Ocean Awareness and Water Safety
- Look for and obey safety signs
- Don't enter the water when beaches are closed
- Ask lifesavers for help and advice if you need it
- Don't touch marine stingers washed up on the beach, they can still sting you
- Swim in the stinger nets where provided
- Consider wearing a full-body lycra suit to protect against marine stings.
If stung, dial Triple Zero (000 and ask for an ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance, pour Sailene Solution (Salt Water) onto the sting and administer oxygen or CPR if required. Symptoms of Irukandji stings may take 20–40 minutes to develop—if in doubt, seek medical aid.
Crocodiles live in fresh and salt water in northern Queensland. Swim only in designated safe swimming areas. Even if there is no warning sign, there may still be crocodiles.
In Australia When you are in crocodile-inhabited areas:
You must obey all crocodile warning signs
Please always keep a watch for crocodiles
As with any animal never provoke, harass or interfere with crocodiles, even small ones
Never feed crocodiles—it is illegal and dangerous
be extra careful around water at night and during the breeding season (September–April)
stay away from the water's edge.
Are they in Brisbane - YES you will find them in rock pools in and around Redcliffe, Brighton, Bribie plus quite a few more places
Blue-ringed octopuses are one of the world’s most venomous animals. They live in tide pools and shallow reefs all around Australia.
Bites can occur when people touch them or stand on them. While the bite might be painless, the venom in their saliva can be fatal.
Call Triple Zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance. When the ambulance is on its way, apply a pressure immobilisation bandage to the bite site.
Start and continue CPR they become unresponsive and not breathing normally