TACOMA, Wash. – What started as an amusing photo op with an octopus ended with a trip to the emergency room for one Washington state woman. Now, she says she’d think twice before letting a creature so close to her face.
Jamie Bisceglia met up with some fisherman who had hooked an octopus during a fishing derby August 2 and saw herself with a rare opportunity.
“It was a photo contest in the derby. And so, crazy me, hindsight now and looking back, I probably made a big mistake,” she said.
The octopus grabbed onto her face with its suckers and then bit her.
“It had barreled its beak into my chin and then let go a little bit and did it again,” she said. “It was a really intense pain when it went inside and it just bled, dripping blood for a long time.”
Bisceglia said the octopus was likely either a smaller version of the giant Pacific octopus or a Pacific red octopus; both have a powerful beak – and a venomous bite used to immobilize prey.
Bisceglia said the venom caused her a lot of pain, but as owner of South Sound Salmon Sisters, she fished for two more days before finally going to the emergency room.
“And I’m still in pain. I’m on three different antibiotics. This can come and go – the swelling – for months, they say,” she said.
Bisceglia said she learned a painful lesson about handling a live octopus.
“This was not a good idea, hindsight looking back. I will never do it again,” she said.
But, that’s not all she learned. According to Bisceglia – who took the biting octopus home, cooked it and ate it – it was delicious.