The recording of an octopus ‘attack’ in Dunsborough, the south west coast of Australia, has won social media since the end of week. The images take just over 30 seconds and show the animal approaching the shallow end of the water while the gelator Lance Karlson is startled by the onslaught.
According to what he reported in a post on Instagram, it all happened while walking with her 2-year-old daughter on March 18. The two saw the octopus trying to scare away a seagull and stopped to watch when the animal turned on them. “my God,” he says in the background when he notices the aggressive movement.
A little later, he was passing through an area full of remains of crab and was again surprised by the animal. This time, the tentacles hit Karlson in the neck and back. The injuries were not serious, leaving only reddish marks, since these species do not have poison or other harmful substances in the suction cups.
In an interview with The New York Times, he said the pain was not very strong – something similar to being hit with a towel wet. Despite this, the gelogue found it more prudent to pack things up and take his daughter home.
As a volunteer lifeguard for years, Karlson knew what to do to treat injuries: apply a weak acid, such as vinegar, to the site. However, the resort where the family was staying did not make this material available, but the wife improvised a helping hand and poured soda on her husband’s back while he was sitting in the bathtub
“The stinging sensation left almost instantly,” he said. Judit Pungor, a researcher at the University of Oregon, said he was possibly hit by one of the living waters living in the region at the time of the attack. In the event of an accident caused only for an octopus, the solution would not have worked. “Any poison they have (in their bites, not in their arms) would not be relieved by pouring something acidic on them,” he said.
Another expert heard by the newspaper said the octopus’ attitude was not an attack itself, but a “pull back” warning. “Octopuses move forward or fire their arms when they feel that a fish, another octopus or a human being is in their space. I think that often a preventive attack, designed to signal ‘don’t mess with me’, instead of a serious attack aimed at to harm the ‘invader’ ”, explained Peter Ulric Tse, professor of cognitive neuroscience at Dartmouth College, who researches this type of animal.
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