Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Venomous weever fish lurking off Irish coast

The new visitor to Irish waters - the weever fish
Stunning images from the animal world featured in the BBC's Life series
Images from the BBC's Life series

A venomous fish whose sting is excruciating could come as a nasty surprise to swimmers in Irish waters.

The new moon and spring tide are likely to bring swimmers and surfers into contact with the toxic weever fish over the next two weekends.

The weever is a small fish that is found under the sand on Irish coasts. It usually lives beyond the tide line but with the waters low for the next few days people are likely to walk into its territory.

The fish is brown, about 15cm long and has black venomous spines along its dorsal fin. Once trodden on the fish uses these dorsal fins to inject venom into the wound. The fish's spine can break off in the foot, causing severe discomfort.

People are advised to stay out of the water and not to swim until at least an hour after low water. If you get stung, plunge your feet into very hot water. In some cases you may need an anti-venom injection.

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