Washington woman sent to hospital after posing with octopus on face

When Jamie Bisceglia met up with some fishermen who had hooked an octopus during a fishing derby in Tacoma, Washington, on Aug. 2 she saw an opportunity for an unusual picture.

"It was a photo contest in the derby. So, crazy me, hindsight now and looking back, I probably made a big mistake," Bisceglia said.

Bisceglia put the octopus on her face and posed. At first, it grabbed her with its suckers, and then it did something she didn't expect. It bit her on the face.

"It had barreled its beak into my chin and then let go a little bit and did it again," said Bisceglia. "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 a smaller, juvenile version of a giant Pacific octopus, although a spokeswoman at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium says it could have been a Pacific red octopus. Both have a powerful beak used to break and eat crabs, clams and mussels. Their bite contains a venom to immobilize their prey.

Bisceglia says that venom left her in incredible pain. But as owner of South Sound Salmon Sisters she kept fishing for two more days before she finally went to the emergency room.

"And I'm still in pain," said Bisceglia. "I'm on three different antibiotics. This can come and go, the swelling, for months they say." She says the whole painful experience taught her a valuable lesson about handling a live octopus.

"This was not a good idea," said Bisceglia. "I will never do it again."


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