photo of blue-ringed octopus

Diver Takes Cute & Terrifying Selfie With One of the Ocean’s Deadliest Creatures

News | By Stephan Jukic | December 1, 2022

Divers often find themselves in situations where amazing videos and photos are possible along with major risks.

Usually though, when we think of the risky side, we associate it with things like shipwrecks, deep water, sharks, storms and other huge marine animals.

What many of us might less frequently consider dangerous is running into a tiny little octopus covered in beautiful blue ring patterns. We’d be badly mistaken though.

One diver, the underwater photographer, and marine biologist Sheree Marris, got such a small opportunity recently while diving off the coast of the Mornington Peninsula in the Australian state of Victoria.

While moving around below the waves, she ran across one of these absurdly cute little octopi and decided to catch a brief selfie video of herself with the compact creature.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sheree Marris (@shereemarris)

When you think of an octopus, it’s easy to imagine a creature that can range from the size of a medim dog to bigger than a large fully-grown man.

With the Blue-ringed octopus, this is definitely not the case. This stunningly-colored cephalopod doesn’t grow beyond just 20 cm (roughly 9 inches) across and many of them can be as small as 10 cm (3 inches) across fully grown.

Despite the pint-sized dimensions, this tiny octopus is deceptively dangerous, as its brilliant ring patterns clearly hint. The danger is mainly because it has the ability to inject one of the world’s deadliest types of venom with a single painless bite from its little beak.

small blue-ringed octopus

In people, that one bite can be more than venomous enough to cause death in as little as minutes, and an average specimen of this octopus carries enough of it to kill roughly 26 adult humans.

So yeah, lovely and tiny as it is, this is one creature you absolutely would not want to anger within nipping range.

None of these details presented a problem for Marris though. As a marine biologist, she’d be well aware of how to handle the little critters. She’d also know that if the octopus she ran across suddenly started activating the brilliant, nearly electric blue of its rings, then it was a sign to back right off.

blue ringed octopus rings

image source: Wikimedia Commons

That aside, despite their ferociously lethal bite, these octopuses are far from aggressive and will do their best to avoid confrontations with humans unless severely provoked.

As Marris explained on her Instagram page, running into the tiny octopus was also a surprise largely because they’re usually nocturnal hunters that prefer “coming out of their lairs at night to hunt.” She added that “seeing this deadly jewel during the day was a treat.”

In the video, you can see Marris lurk the background as the octopus approaches the camera she had placed in front of it. This let her keep a safe personal distance while capturing a nice close-up shoot of the animal and her in the frame.

The video is worth a look. If you should happen to run across one of these lovely creatures on your own Australian diving visit one day, simply remember that you should be fine if you don’t provoke. Also, keep an eye out for the sight of radiant, shifting blue rings.

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