Australians are often fortunate enough to share the ocean with amazing, breathtaking creatures such as playful dolphins and migrating humpback whales. Like any environment, some creatures can also be dangerous. It’s important to understand what these creatures are and how we can steer clear of them.
The Blue Ringed Octopus is a beautiful, but deadly creature. They can be extremely well camouflaged into the rocks, only displaying their blue rings when threatened. The bite is usually painless from a beak under the body of the octopus. Numbness of the lips and tongue may occur with weakness and breathing difficulty developing rapidly. Severe untreated bites may lead to death. If someone is bitten you should:
1. Contact EMERGENCY TRIPLE ZERO (000) immediately
2. Proceed with CPR if necessary.
2. Apply compression or immobilisation bandaging to the area.
3. Spontaneous breathing usually returns in 3-10 hours.
Blue ringed octopus are commonly found in the shallow rock pools of the inter-tidal zone, hiding amongst the rocks all around Australia. You can avoid them by staying clear, and not disturbing these environments.
Crocodiles can be extremely dangerous, and we generally have a healthy fear of these creatures! They live in rivers, lakes and the ocean in Northern Australia. If you’re in an area that may have saltwater crocodiles, you should never swim in the area even if there are no warnings signs. You should only swim in designated safe swimming areas which are regularly checked and signposted.
There are also many types of sharks around Australia. Most are harmless to humans. Although humans fear sharks, they are an important part of the ecosystem and a reality of the ocean. There are some very simple tips you can use to minimise your chances of encountering a shark at the beach:
- Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk
- Avoid swimming at river mouths or in murk, discoloured waters
- Avoid swimming in or around schools of baitfish