Backpacker’s blue-ringed brush with death
A QUEENSLAND backpacker has cheated death after manhandling one of the ocean's most venomous creatures for a laugh.
UK national John Paul Lennon was fishing with friends near Bundaberg when they caught a blue-ringed octopus.
Unaware the animal's bite can kill within 30 minutes, Lennon placed on his bare skin for a video.
After posting the footage to Facebook, Lennon was told how close to death he'd come.
"I could have done with the info a lot sooner, just lucky I couldn't deal with how f**d up it felt," he said.
"If it had bit me I'd have bit it straight back and it could see that in my eyes."
Others were less than impressed with the deadly stunt.
"It's not a laughing matter those octopus have venom to kill 25 humans in minutes so stupid," one user said.
Another said he couldn't believe he put that on his arm.
"If it bites you, it paralysis you and you stop breathing within minutes," he said.
Lennon's friend Ross Saunders, who filmed the incident, said he was shocked when learning of his mate's close brush with death.
"It took me a couple of days for it to sink in what happened," he told The Courier-Mail.
"It doesn't seem real but we can have a laugh at our stupidity now cause no one got hurt."
He said that "fishing in Oz might be a lot different to back home".
"Watched some amazing sunsets, saw dolphins and caught a blue-ringed octopus, one of the most dangerous animals in the world and didn't even realise."
According to experts the blue-ringed octopus has a fast-acting toxin - 1200 times more powerful than cyanide - that paralyses its victim.
It has caused two deaths in Australia and one in Singapore with many more people coming perilously close to death after a bite. There is no antidote for the bite of the octopus, which is regularly found in Queensland.
The Australia Institute of Marine Science said victims usually died from lack of oxygen.
"The good news … is that they are retiring creatures and will only bite if they are being harassed and poked," it said.
The animal inhabits an area from the Sea of Japan to southern Australia and tends to hide in crevices or under rocks during the day, and emerging at night.