Updated: 5:57 AM PDT, March 28, 2021
A Virginia woman is lucky to be alive after unknowingly playing with an octopus that could have killed her with just one bite. Kaylin Phillips had no idea the creature she and her friends were passing around on a beach in Bali was a venomous blue-ringed octopus.
“I saw it in the water, and my initial reaction was just to pick it up,” Phillips told Inside Edition.
When she posted a picture on her Instagram story, several people responded telling her what it was. She looked it up online and discovered the animal has enough venom to kill more than 20 people.
“I’ve just held this creature that not just could have killed all three of us, but apparently if there were 26 of us, we all would have been gone,” Phillips said.
“She is very lucky that nothing happened to her,” wildlife biologist Forrest Galante told Inside Edition. “These tiny little golf ball-sized octopus pack a heck of a punch. In fact, some studies say that it’s 1,000 times more potent than cyanide — their venom.”
Phillips says she was panicked because you can’t feel their bite, so she wouldn’t have known she’d be poisoned until it was too late.
“If you’re bitten, there’s no immediate sign until you basically drop dead,” Galante said. “They have a neurotoxic venom that will paralyze you and, essentially, what it does is shuts down your lungs from breathing.”
Phillips went to the hospital as a precaution. Doctors told her as long as she didn’t eat it, she would be fine. She says the scary experience taught her a lesson: “Just don’t pick up everything that you see.”