Sea Creatures

Blue-ringed octopus Blue-ringed Octopus

One of the most toxic known sea creatures, producing a venom containing tetrodotoxin which is also found in puffer fish and cone snails. One octopus can produce enough venom to kill 26 adult humans. Victims often do not feel the bite but slowly become paralysed while remaning fully conscious. Applying pressure to the wound and artificial respiration can successfully treat victims.


The most venomous fish in the sea, with 13 dorsal spines to inject a cocktail of toxins into an attacker. The stonefish is an expert in camouflage and while its venom causes extreme pain and can be fatal, an antivenom is available.



The male of the species has a hollow spur approximately 15 millimeters long on the inside of both hind legs, which is connected to a venom gland containing a cocktail of strong toxins. As the gland peaks during mating season, it is believed that the spur is normally used in aggressive encounters between male platypuses. Platypus venom is excruciatingly painful and is strong enough to kill a small dog.

PufferfishPufferfish (also known as Toadfish)

Found in shallow coastal waters and estuaries from northern Queensland to southern New South Wales, pufferfish are often spotted buried in the sand with only their eyes exposed. They swim slowly as they have small fins and round bodies but can slowly inflate their bodies into a ball by swallowing water to discourage other fish from eating them. Pufferfish also have poisonous skin and organs and many have spines on their bodies that stick out when inflated, making it hard to grab or bite. Puffers produce the same tetradotoxin as the blue-ringed octopus and can be fatal if eaten. In Japan, Pufferfish are eaten as a delicacy called fugu. Fugu chefs train for years to learn to prepare the fish to make it safe to eat but despite this, between 50-75 people die each year.


Stingray are commonly found all around the coast of Australia. They range in size from two metres in width (the southern smooth ray, the largest in the world) to plate sized stingarees. Stingrays are named for the one or two sharp serrated spines found toward the end of the tail – these spines are connected to a venom gland and are used to defend themselves when threatened in the same way as a scorpion. Stingrays are normally gentle and placid animals but stings can occur when they are accidentally trodden on in shallow water. Wounds are usually deep and ragged and often become infected. Soaking the wound in 45°C water can alleviate pain from the sting.

Saltwater Crocodile

The largest living crocodilian. Males can grow up to seven metres in length and weigh more than one tonne, and their fearsome jaws are capable of exerting more than 1.3 tonnes of pressure per square inch. Opportunistic predators, the saltwater crocodile will feed on almost anything they can get their jaws on, including water buffalo, monkeys and even sharks. They lie patiently beneath the water waiting for their prey and then lunge at their victim, grasping them in their jaws and drag it under the water until it drowns. These giant reptiles are constantly under threat from hunters because of their reputation as man-eaters.

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