A seemingly disgruntled octopus made its feelings known recently by lashing out at a beach-goer near Perth, Western Australia. Thirty-four-year-old novelist Lance Karlson was attacked by the displeased cephalopod while visiting Geographe Bay in Dunsborough on March 18, leaving him with painful stings and red marks on his neck.
Speaking to 7news.com.au, Karlson explained that he first noticed the octopus when it lunged for a seagull on the surface of the water, providing an early indication of the animal’s unfriendly mood. It was at this point that he decided to film the octopus, capturing it on video as it threw its tentacles towards him in a highly aggressive manner.
Some twenty minutes later, Karlson entered the water and came face-to-face with the tentacled creature as it took refuge among a pile of shells. “I was only there for a few seconds looking at the shells when I was struck on the arm from behind,” he explained.
“My goggles fogged up and then I was struck again, this time [on] the neck.”
Having endured more than enough mollusk-based aggression for one day, Karlson quickly made his way back to shore, at which point the imprint of the octopus’s tentacles became visible across his neck and upper back.
Fortunately, the pain wasn’t too severe, and the former surf lifesaver didn’t require any medical assistance. “The sting wasn’t particularly painful, it was more the shock of what happened and fear from not being able to see,” he said.
Searching for something acidic with which to neutralize the sting, Karlson decided to pour Coca-Cola on the site of the injury. “I didn’t actually know if Coke would work, but given how acidic it is I decided it was worth trying,” he explained. “Turns out it works.”
While the cause of the animal’s hostile disposition isn’t known, this is not the first time that octopuses have been seen to lash out at those around them. For instance, researchers recently reported that some octopuses have a tendency to punch fish with their tentacles out of sheer spite.
Describing the creature as “the angriest octopus in Geographe Bay,” Karlson was fortunate that the species he happened to encounter appeared to be relatively harmless. In contrast, a TikTok user recently uploaded a video of themselves holding a blue-ringed octopus – which happens to be one of the most venomous animals in the world – in Bali. Had that creature been in a similar mood to the animal in Geographe Bay, things might have turned out very badly indeed.