A Poisonous Weever Fish at Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth
We were sea fishing at the weekend in Bournemouth when we pulled in a small creature known as a Weever Fish.
If you’ve never heard of a Weever Fish then read on – check out those nasty spines, they are jam packed with poison. This is as ‘handle with care’ fish if ever you saw one! The venom in its spines is a nerve poison and has a chemical in it which is one of the most potent pain producing substances known to man.
Weever Fish are Britain’s only poisonous fish and they are becoming increasingly common on sandy beaches around the UK. They are common in the Mediterranean but like our warmer summers and are successfully breeding along the South Coast of England. Unfortunately they also enjoy the same beaches that we do, burying themselves in the sand in the places that we like to paddle and swim.
Anyone stepping on a Weever Fish will be left in excruciating pain lasting several hours, often causing people’s limbs to swell and in extreme cases the nerve poison can even lead to temporary paralysis. Irritation can last for two weeks.
Weever Fish Stings – what to do [NHS]?
Here’s some information about what to do if you’re stung by a Weever Fish from the NHS Choices Website. If you’re stung by a weever fish, it’s important to get first aid and medical attention immediately. To control the pain, the affected area should be immersed in hot water (as hot as can be tolerated) for 30-90 minutes.
You can also use simple painkillers such as paracetamol to relieve any remaining pain.
Any large spines should be carefully removed from the wound using tweezers (avoid touching the spines with your bare hands). Clean the wound using soap and water and then rinse it with fresh water. Do not cover the wound.
Spines embedded in or near joints or tendons should be assessed in A&E. X-rays may be required and the spines may need to be surgically removed. A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) will need to be treated in hospital immediately. Anti-tetanus prophylaxis (an injection) may be needed if you or the affected person is not fully vaccinated.