Don’t blame the octopus

This poor woman thought it would be funny to pose for a photo with a small octopus on her face. The octopus disagreed, and bit her.

“And I’m still in pain,” said Bisceglia. “I’m on three different antibiotics. This can come and go, the swelling, for months they say.” She says the whole painful experience taught her a valuable lesson about handling a live octopus.

“This was not a good idea,” said Bisceglia. “I will never do it again.”

That’s one reason they have venoms, you know, besides streamlining the killing of prey. Never do it again. Also, tell all your friends if you survive that they shouldn’t disturb the octopus.

Isn’t evolution grand?


  1. says

    Had she tried that with the oh-so-cute blue-ringed octopus, she would be dead by now.

    She ain’t “poor woman” she’s downright daft.

  2. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I know a woman who got E Coli from kissing a cow (on the face, in case you’re wondering).
    The human stupidity truly knows no bounds.

  3. numerobis says

    Her attitude about it seems healthy: blaming herself for doing something stupid.

  4. cartomancer says

    I once got food poisoning from eating marinade that had just come off raw meat. In my defence, I only did it because my beloved’s boyfriend told me not to, and I hate him.

  5. PaulBC says

    Sounds like the ancient SNL skit. “I hate it when that happens!”

    Her ability to learn from experience is impressive:

    “This was not a good idea,” said Bisceglia. “I will never do it again.”

  6. Akira MacKenzie says

    “This was not a good idea,” said Bisceglia. “I will never do it again.”

    NO! Really? I thought you were going to make harassing cephalopods a weekly habit!

  7. blf says

    Echoing others, I applaud the individual’s acknowledge of a mistake and apparent learning.

    I’m a bit curious as to the person’s previous experience with squids / octopus. This is by analogy to myself, where I knew about, and then observed firsthand (first in dead calamari (as I was prepare them to be ate) and then, later, in live aquarium specimens), the awesome beaks they (the squids) have. Whilst I am aware of models being draped in calamari (i.e., dead squid), I can’t imagine putting a live beak-equipped kraken anywhere nears me.

    (Yes, I am aware the OP is about an octopus rather than a squid. The same general puzzlement, albeit not the experience, applies.)

  8. robro says

    It’s amazing the stupid things we will do for a joke, a lark, or even to spite someone. When I was about 10, I was riding my bike with a friend when suddenly in a flash of brilliance I wiggled the handlebars and said, “This is what it’s like to loose control of a bike.” I was right. I fell and broke my left arm. I never did that again though there are other, even scarier things I’ve done. I’m surprised I’m alive today. After 70+ years of being too smart for my britches, I’m as skeptical of my own intelligence as I am of gods, saints, heroes, politicians, and miracle cure-alls. (I bet I say or do something equally stupid today.)

  9. Ragutis says

    Well, at least she didn’t try to emulate some of those Japanese woodprints and stick it down her pants.

  10. kome says

    Now I’m just recalling Final Fantasy 6. Ultros: “Don’t tease the octopus, kids”

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    Bisceglia says that venom left her in incredible pain. But as owner of South Sound Salmon Sisters, she kept fishing for two more days before she finally went to the emergency room.

    I wonder if she learned from that mistake.

  12. Ragutis says

    Anyone else follow the link from the link to see how octopuses respond to ecstasy?


    7 August 2019 at 11:41 am

    It’s amazing the stupid things we will do for a joke, a lark, or even to spite someone.

    Around the same age I took a dare to ride down a hill on a friend’s bike. Still not sure now if I didn’t notice that there were no brakes or if I just disregarded it. So, me speeding down a hill… can’t stop… green VW bus… BAM! My parents saw the whole thing from the front window. My mom ran. My dad figured I was dead, so he walked. It’s been nearly 40 years, but I still think that that’s pretty fucked up.


    Apparently, I flew some 40 feet through the air. Knocked out. Woke up at the hospital. Broke my toe. Big one. Right foot. (I still don’t get it. There were 4 other toes and the rest of my foot between it and the bus let alone all the other damage you’d expect a body to take in that circumstance) Bike was about bent in half. The front of the bus was trashed and the windshield smashed. 3 days in the hospital because they were sure something more had to be wrong. For a bit almost all the girls in my sixth grade class and church youth group were falling over themselves to pamper and mother me. Might have been nice had this happened after puberty, but at the time I was just annoyed at the attention.

    I still love VWs though.

  13. says

    Speaking of evolutionary adaptation, I’m wondering if someone more informed about evolution would like to comment on

    The producer has a number of videos on writing fictional worlds, including a great series on constructed languages. This is the second of a new series on literal world building. His motto is “Don’t break the rules unless you know the rules,” things like “mountains can’t go there because the plate tectonics don’t work.” Here, he is applying that to biology.

  14. wsierichs says

    What I want to know is, did the poor octopus get food poisoning? I mean, isn’t human skin venomous for cephalopods?
    Or am I misremembering something from high school biology? I barely passed, after all, so that’s possible …

  15. jrkrideau says

    I grew up on a beef farm in Eastern Ontario. One very rapidly learns that one does not play around with animals one does not know.

    Clearly this woman is from a city.

  16. cartomancer says


    I thought we were sharing stories of stupid things we’ve done for irrational reasons…

  17. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    regardless of venom, a bite from a sea creature can cause massive infection that can take a long time and many antibiotics to treat. My wife had her arm nipped by a cormorant while she was rescueing it from lying on the railroad tracks in our backyard, with a damaged wing. The vets to whom we took the cormorant for care, looked at the nip and told her to immediately get it looked at by a medical doctor. She then spent months on stronger and stronger antibiotics to reduce the swelling.
    I would expect an octopus nip to be even worse.

  18. hemidactylus says

    At least she didn’t get kissed by a puppy. That will remove a limb or two. Puppies are the new cottonmouths or brown recluses. Scary stuff.

    And stay away from the beach. The beach itself is dangerous, forget the bull sharks. The sand itself.

    Puppies and beaches are scary.

  19. lochaber says

    when I was a young teenager, I once poked a bait squid, and got bit. I felt stupid immediately, because on an intellectual level, I had read about cephalopods before, and knew they had beaks they could bite with.
    I just, didn’t have that knowledge come to mind, and couldn’t resist poking it at the time.
    I’ve been more cautious around cephalopods since then…

  20. PaulBC says

    At least she didn’t get kissed by a puppy. That will remove a limb or two. Puppies are the new cottonmouths or brown recluses. Scary stuff.

    Lucy van Pelt was decades ahead of her time.

  21. VolcanoMan says

    @cartomancer (#22)

    I think the question implicit in the “huh?” (well…probably) was regarding the statement “my beloved’s boyfriend,” and not the stupid thing in question. Like…if they’re YOUR beloved, why do they have a boyfriend, or…if they have a boyfriend (present tense), how could they be your beloved (also present tense)? So unless you’re using the word “boyfriend” (…or beloved?) in the platonic sense*, in which case, that’s a fairly idiosyncratic use of the word (for what its worth, a platonic meaning of “beloved” would be even stranger!), I figure some manner of polyamory is going on. It’s none of my business – don’t feel the need to explain if you don’t want to. But my mind also went over your comment a couple times to make sure I was reading it correctly, because the particular arrangement of words therein isn’t something one often comes across.

    *Women often speak of their “girlfriends” in a platonic sense for some reason (the first time I heard someone use this word in this context, I assumed they were gay…an assumption I carried around with me for like, a year), but a person using the word “boyfriend” (regardless of whether the “boy” in question is a “friend” of a woman or man) generally means it in the carnal sense. Though if you think about it for half a minute, it is FAR more confusing that the compound word consisting of “girl/boy” and “friend” came to refer to a romantic attachment in the first place (honestly, what’s the problem with “lover”…or “(male/female) sexual partner,” if linguistic precision is your goal?). So maybe those heterosexual women who have “girlfriends” are the ones using the word “correctly” (though I generally believe that the “correct” version of language, if such a thing exists, is the common meaning at the time, and not the original one that may have roots in like, the Middle Ages, or whatever).

  22. cartomancer says

    VolcanoMan, #28

    Oh, I see. I didn’t expect confusion there. The terms are pretty obvious to me, but I guess the flexibility of language and especially its usage could make them confusing to some.

    In this case my beloved is both my best friend from childhood, and the man I have been deeply in love with for the last twenty years. Unfortunately he has not reciprocated my love, and ended up with a boyfriend of his own before I was able to tell him. Which has been a source of great pain to me, and thus I hate this boyfriend, this usurper, who has prevented us from being together for a decade and a half (though the incident in question was only about five years in to said nightmare). As such, I ended up doing stupid things to spite said individual, to my own detriment.

    Have I explained the situation clearly enough.

  23. Ichthyic says

    20 YEARS?

    dude, it’s you who are causing yourself pain.

    as hard as you think it is, you need to move on. I mean, REALLY need to move on.

    you’re using this as an excuse not to enjoy whatever else is out there waiting for you, and no, there is no “one” person out there that can share your feelings and experiences with. there are millions.

    I surely cannot be the only one to say this?

  24. cartomancer says

    Ichthyic, #30

    No, people have been saying this sort of thing to me for most of those two decades. But it’s easier said than done. One does not simply stop loving someone. One cannot simply put aside one’s deepest feelings for a person or transfer them to someone else. “Moving on” is not something I know how to do, and nobody has ever explained how it is meant to work beyond trite exhortations to just do it. Besides, I’ve never met anyone but my beloved whom I have felt anything like this about.

    It’s not that big a deal. I have learned to cope with the pain by now, more or less. We all have our crosses to bear.

  25. Rob Grigjanis says

    cartomancer @31: Baring your soul does bring out the agony aunt in some of us. Can’t be helped!

    So here’s my trite exhortation for the day. Have you considered cutting off all contact with your beloved? Your eyes can’t be drawn elsewhere if the source of bedazzlement is constantly at hand. Difficult, yes. But it worked for me, about 30 years ago.

  26. Roi Du Voyageur says

    I have always been fascinated with (and respectful of) octopi and cuttlefish and similar. I knew about their beaks but wasn’t sure about the damage that could be done with them. I did know they used them to crunch bivalves et. al., and yet I never really connected the question with the obvious answer.

    And now I know for sure. Do Not Handle.