"There were about three of us passing him around," the TikTok user said about handling the blue-ringed octopus, adding that she didn't think "anything of it" at the time

By Maria Pasquini
March 25, 2021 02:49 PM
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Blue-ringed octopus
Blue-ringed octopus
| Credit: T Eidenweil/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

One woman got way more than she bargained for during a beach day in Bali. 

On Monday, Kaylin Phillips posted a short video on TikTok, which showed her "unknowingly holding one of the most dangerous animals" in her hand, a blue-ringed octopus.

The clip starts with a shot of Phillips from several years ago at Uluwatu Beach with the "highly venomous" cephalopod in her palm. Then, the video cuts to some online research, which showed that not only can blue-ringed octopuses bites be deadly, but there's also no-known anti-venom to treat blue-ringed octopus bites.

"Cheers for still being alive," Phillips wrote at the end of the viral clip, which was captioned, "Called my dad crying 3 hours later."

In a subsequent video, Phillips wrote that the encounter took place while she was studying abroad — and that she only learned the truth after posting clips from that day to social media. 

"Okay, so my last video is getting a lot more attention than I expected. I took this video about three years ago while I was studying abroad in Bali," she said, adding that she was there working on a documentary about animal welfare.

"The last week we had allotted for editing, and there were a couple of days in between, so we decided to go to Uluwatu Beach. While we were there, we saw really interesting wildlife," she shared, noting that both the starfish and the crabs they saw there looked different than the kinds commonly seen in the United States.

So, Phillips didn't think "anything of it" when she saw the blue-ringed octopus in the water. 

"When we saw this little guy swim up, we picked him up. There were about three of us passing him around," she said. "We actually saw another one similar; picked that one up as well."

"It wasn't until later that I found out they were venomous on my Instagram Story," she added. 

In another video posted on Wednesday, Phillips promised to share the story about what went down immediately after she found out — which seemingly involved a trip to a local hospital.  

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Although blue-ringed octopus bites are rare, they have the potential to be incredibly dangerous. 

"Blue-ringed octopuses are only a threat to humans when they feel threatened and directly bite someone," according to animal conservation organization Oceana, which also noted that their distinctive blue coloring will appear more vibrant if they feel under attack. 

Their venom "can paralyze a human in minutes," Heathline reported, noting that while it's not always possible to "feel the bite itself" it's "imperative to get medical treatment right away if you suspect it occurred." 

Although not all bites will "result in severe symptoms," the outlet stressed that anybody who suspects they've been bitten should be under medical observation "for several hours."

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As for how best to avoid being bitten by blue-ringed octopus, so long as you leave them alone, you'll likely be fine. 

"There's little reason to fear getting stung by a blue-ringed octopus if you're careful," according to Healthline. "Don't prod one while you're swimming or if you encounter one in another marine life environment, like an aquarium."