Beachside Danger: Stonefish, the most venomous fish in the world, washed up on the shore

An Australian man who came across the world’s most poisonous fish last weekend luckily lived the story. Daniel Brown was walking around the rock pools at Lee Point beach north of Darwin when he nearly stepped on a deadly stonefish. Mr Brown posted on Facebook that he and a friend “went exploring the rock pools at Lee Point at low tide on Sunday.”

“We were looking for the most poisonous octopus in the world: the blue-ringed octopus.”


The stonefish (pictured) is the most poisonous fish in the world and its sting can kill in an hour

They didn’t find the octopus, but ‘Instead, we found the most poisonous fish in the world! A stone fish,” he said.


For those who don’t know what a stonefish is, Mr Brown explained that “they can inject a powerful toxin through their dorsal spines when stepped on”.

“This toxin can be fatal to humans if left untreated, but no deaths have been reported in Australia.”

He said the photo he posted “is exactly how we found it too.” Out of the water, on top of the sand, not buried in it.


“When we realized it wasn’t dead, we moved it, a delicate operation involving straps so our hands wouldn’t touch it, into the water where it began to slowly bury itself,” Mr Brown said.

He ended his post with the very sensible advice to ‘watch your footing on the beach guys’.

‘Not all rocks are really rocks.’


Queensland Health has also warned of the dangers of stonefish.

He advised that “to avoid a stonefish sting, wear sturdy footwear on flat reefs or while wading in soft-bottom substrates adjacent to rocky or weedy areas.”

The warning added that if you are stung by a stonefish, “call Triple Zero (000) immediately as antivenom may need to be administered.”

A stonefish is capable of killing an adult in less than an hour.

Even if your bite is not fatal, it is considered one of the most painful experiences you can endure.


Adam Clancy (pictured) made a video after stepping on the stonefish where he was noticeably relaxed.

Last July, a man who survived stepping on a stonefish and drank the pain away with alcohol was stunned to pry one of the deadly creature’s long spikes from his foot months later.

Adam Clancy, 31, garnered international media coverage after posting a video of himself nonchalantly talking about how he stepped on a stonefish and was treating the pain with wine and whiskey.


The professional photographer from the town of Tenterfield, New South Wales, was wading across Queensland’s Moreton Island on the evening of April 22 with camera in hand when he stepped on the well-disguised stonefish.

“My partner confirmed it was a stonefish and told me to go ashore because I am about to be in a lot of pain,” Clancy told Daily Mail Australia.

“I went in and another friend got a bucket of hot water for my foot, then I waited for the paramedic.”

“He came over and checked my vital signs, which is when he told me I was ridiculously relaxed about it, even though the pain was an 8 out of 10.”


Stonefish venom can induce heart failure and people injected with it are advised to receive anti-venom treatment as soon as possible.

The paramedic offered Mr. Clancy painkillers, but he turned them down, a decision he laughs at in retrospect.

“Yes, (painkillers) probably would have been the best option, but two glasses of whiskey and a bottle of Shiraz helped me sleep that night,” he said.

The paramedic also suggested that Mr. Clancy go to a mainland hospital the next day, but instead he stayed on the island and went back to work the next day.

Mr Clancy posted a TikTok video in which he deadpan, glass of red wine in hand, confessing that he just stepped on “the most poisonous fish in the world”.


“So the paramedic just told me that most people go into shock and pass out from the intense pain,” he says.

“So, apparently I’m the most relaxed guy in agonizing pain.”

How dangerous are stone fish? The Queensland Museum explains…

The stone fish is the most poisonous of all fish. They are found in shallow coastal waters off the northern half of Australia. The fish generally remains motionless, often partially buried in the substrate and perfectly camouflaged among the surrounding coral, reef rock, rubble, or aquatic plants.

The stonefish has 13 strong, sharp dorsal fins that are contained within a thick-skinned sheath. At the base of each column are two venom glands that discharge their contents along the ducts of the column. When disturbed, the fish erects its spines, but maintains its position on the sea floor.

Stings usually occur on the feet of swimmers or waders that have ventured away from the clean sandy substrate and closer to the more complex bottom structure preferred by stonefish. Multiple spines can often penetrate affected extremities, resulting in more extensive envenomation. The pain is immediate, excruciating, and can last for many days. Muscle paralysis, breathing difficulties, shock, and sometimes heart failure and death can occur.


To avoid stonefish bites, sturdy footwear should be worn on reef flats or when wading through soft-bottom substrates adjacent to rocky or weedy areas. An antivenom has been developed for stonefish stings. In the event of a sting, the victim should get out of the water, apply first aid, and seek medical attention as soon as possible.


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