A Woman Posed For A Picture With An Octopus On Her Face, Then Wound Up In The Hospital

'I probably made a big mistake,' said the woman.

a giant pacific octopus under the water
Steve Jurveston / Flickr (CC BY 2.0 Cropped, resized.)

'I probably made a big mistake,' said the woman.

A Washington woman is regretting her decision to pose for a picture with an octopus attached to her face, after the creature bit her with its powerful jaws and injected a painful venom into her bloodstream.

As Metro reports, Jamie Bisceglia was participating in a fishing derby in Tacoma last weekend, when some area fishermen pulled up an octopus. Bisceglia says that there was a photography contest going on along with the derby, so she figured, what the heck. She put the animal on her face and a few pictures were snapped.

While the pictures were being taken, the animal wasn’t having it. Bisceglia says it attached its suckers to her face. Then it “bit” her, in a manner of speaking: the species of octopus that is believed to have attacked Bisceglia has a beak with powerful jaws that it uses to crack and eat crabs, mussels and clams, according to Seattle’s KIRO-TV.

It wasn’t just the animal’s bite that did her in: it also injected a painful venom, which the animal uses to paralyze its prey, into her.

“It was a really intense pain when it went inside and it just bled, dripping blood for a long time,” she said.

Bisceglia didn’t go to the hospital right away, and instead went back to work at her fishing business. However, after two days of “agony,” as she describes it, she decided to see a medical professional. Unfortunately, she has a long road ahead of her.

“I’m still in pain. I’m on three different antibiotics. This can come and go, the swelling, for months they say,” she says.

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And as for her ill-fated decision to pose for a picture with an octopus?

“So, crazy me, hindsight now and looking back, I probably made a big mistake. This was not a good idea. I will never do it again,” she said.

Bisceglia believes the octopus that bit her was a smaller, juvenile version of a giant Pacific octopus. However, a spokesperson at the Point Defiance Aquarium says it could have been a Pacific red octopus. Both animals have beaks of the kind that injured Bisceglia, and both are venomous.

According to Mom.me, many species of octopus have defensive mechanisms, such as venom and beaks, that they use on prey and for defense. However, their use on humans is exceptionally rare. There is, though, one species of octopus whose venom is so powerful that it can kill a human: the blue-ringed octopus. Fortunately for Bisceglia, the animal lives in the waters near Australia.