'Angriest octopus' lashes out at man on Australia beach in viral clash

Bathing on vacation on a Western Australian beach resulted in a painful “whipping” of the octopus – and a video of the encounter that went viral.

Geologist and author Lance Karlson was about to take a swim near the resort where he and his family were staying in Geographe Bay on Australia’s southwest coast when he spotted the tail of a stingray emerging from the water and meeting a seagull .

When he got closer with his two-year-old daughter, he discovered that it was an octopus and made a video of the animal in the shallow water, with its tentacles, making a sudden slap in Karlson’s direction.

“The squid attacked us, which was a real shock,” Karlson said in comments emailed to Reuters.

An octopus spreads its tentacles underwater near the coast in Dunsborough, Australia on March 18, 2021. This image is from a social media video.LANCE KARLSON / Reuters

After setting up a sunshade tent for his family on the beach, Karlston put on goggles and went into the water alone to explore a collection of crab shells that he believed had been left behind by creatures of the Dead Sea.

As he swam, he felt another whip across his arm – followed by a stronger stab across his neck and upper back.

“My glasses fogged up, the water was suddenly cloudy and I remember being shocked and confused,” Karlson added in the email.

Karlson said he ran back to the shore and saw raised prints of tentacles on his arm, neck and upper back. Since he didn’t have vinegar, his preferred treatment for seafood stings, he poured Coke over the affected area, which did well in stopping the sting.

The footage posted by Karlson commenting, “The furthest squid in Geographe Bay!” was widespread, but said he felt concern but no hostility towards the animal.

“This was clearly the octopus’ domain,” he said.

“I worry that people will see octopuses in a different light. They are amazing creatures that clearly have strong emotions (just like us)!”

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