Naturalist Daniel Brown was looking for the most venomous octopus in the world but instead came close to stepping on the most toxic fish in a terrifying close shave.
A man claims he was inches from death after narrowly avoiding the world’s most deadly fish.
Stonefish are only easily visible above sand away from rocks (Image: Facebook/Daniel Brown)
Stonefish are masters of disguise and camouflage, and one of the species nearly killed naturalist Daniel Brown while he was exploring rock pools near Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.
The creepy-looking marine creature tucks itself between rocks and sand, waiting for prey to pass overhead before launching a deadly attack in 0.015 seconds.
Stonefish only use venom as a weapon when they need to defend themselves, which could involve having a human foot mistakenly stamp on it.
Stonefish are masters of disguise (Image: ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Daniel warned on Facebook: “Be careful where you step out there on the beach, guys. Not all the rocks are actually rocks.”
He explained: “We went exploring the Lee Point rock pools at low tide on Sunday. We were looking for the most venomous octopus in the world (blue-ringed octopus).
“We didn’t find it. Instead we found the most venomous fish in the world!”
If a stonefish pierces human flesh, its poison can cause cardiac failure within half an hour or inflict severe pain that lasts for days.
Bryan Fry, an associate professor who leads the Venom Evolution Laboratory at the University of Queensland, told Newsweek: “They are far and away the most toxic fish.
They’re far from the prettiest fish in the sea… (Image: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
“Indeed, the pain is so great that people may die of pain-induced shock within the first couple of minutes. If you survive that, the venom can kill by causing cardiovascular collapse as quickly as 30 minutes after the sting.”
The pain is said to be immediate and excruciating and can last for days.
The fish hold their venom at the base of the 13 sharp spines that line its dorsal fin. “The venom is quite complex,” Fry said. “It prevents blood from clotting, damages muscles, affects the rhythm of the heart and causes paralysis.”
Worryingly, Bryan says there is no shortage of stonefish on Australia’s shores.
He said: “In the right places, stonefish can be extremely common.
“On some dives at Amity Point here in Brisbane, we can easily spot a dozen in a single dive.”