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FAQs about Pet-fishing & Human Health: Bites 

Related Articles: Wounds ArticlesMoray Eels Bite, But Are They Venomous? by Marco Lichtenberger,

Related FAQs:  Petfishing and Human Health 1Petfish & Health 2, Petfishing & Human Health 3, & FAQs on: Petfishing Concerns: Getting Poked, Spined, Stuck, Envenomized (injected), Poisoning (ingesting), Skin et al. Contact, Companion Animal Involvement, Troubleshooting/Fixing, Bacterial Infections, Parasitic Cross Zoonoses, Turn About's Fair Play... Stingrays

Octopus Envenomations: http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic342.htm  

Some aquatic life forms can really give a big chomp! Even Clownfishes, Damsels can draw blood.

eel bite  1/25/11
I have recently returned from the east coast of Hawaii's big island. While swimming along a rocky shoreline I felt something strike the end of my left index finger.
When I looked at it I found it had been sliced from one side to the other almost to the bone and was bleeding profusely. The quiet bay I was in had many turtles in it. At first I thought it was a turtle bite but it was suggested later that it might have been an eel.
<Much more likely>
That was just before New Year's of 2010-2011. Since then it has healed very slowly, despite the use of many butterfly bandages used to keep it tightly closed. Now it is completely closed over but is still inflamed and is very tender. I have never healed this slowly before. Does this remind you of an eel bite?
<Could be; though there are many sharp processes in the sea>
If so do you have any suggestions as to the remedy?
<Yes. I would seek the attention and advice of a medical doctor, one specializing in such infections. It may be that you have an entrenched bacterial involvement here. Please read:
and: http://wetwebmedia.com/morayeelbitesart.htm
and the linked FAQs file above. Oh, and do report back re your situation, findings. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for any information you can offer. Ian MacKenzie

Stars and Stripes Pufferfish: Preventing puffer bites 12/20/2009
Greetings and Happy Holidays to the Crew!
<Hello Audreylee, and the same to you.>
I have a 10 inch long Stars and Stripes Pufferfish who first of all does not interpret a white flag as a sign of surrender.
I tried to clean the front of my tank with a simple wet washcloth and his spikes began to show and his size increased. Simple word of warning to Puffer owners. But I am in need of removing very unsightly (and still a little meaty) clam shells from my aquarium. The rest of my fish are primarily herbivorous and have shown no signs of helping me out. I've been shopping and have been unable to find suitable gloves to protect the little bit of my hand that goes in with the net and when I try to put seaweed clips in my aquarium. The sort that are thin plastic are easily to find but I need something that will GREATLY reduce the chance of a rather bloody looking aquarium.
<I am not aware of any glove that is 'puffer resistant' and would not leech either metals or other potential toxins into the water. Simplest is not to use gloves at all, but rather keep your hands out of the tank as much as possible. I would suggest aqua-tongs:
They come in different lengths and are very useful in getting things out of the tank easily.
Also a fan worm question, will my puffer eat the largest of fan worms? Half an inch in diameter or more?
<Yes, and then beg for more.>
<We have a small section on bites here for you to peruse.:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/woundbitef.htm >
Thank you!
<My pleasure>
Re: Stars and Stripes Pufferfish: Preventing puffer bites 12/20/2009
Thanks for the fast reply!
<Hi Audreylee>
After reading the bit of information there it spurred a question into my head. Supposing I do get bitten doing whatever, how do I best coax my puffer to let go of whatever he bites?
<Generally, they will let go on their own (and with puffers, taking a small piece of you with them). That said, the worst thing you can do is to jerk your hand away quickly - that will only make the bite worse.>

Foxface Rabbitfish - Bite, not Sting? -- 09/19/09
Bob, et al,
<Good morrow>
Thanks for the help over the past several months, and for the wealth of info on the website. In the past week, I've decided to let my Foxface Rabbitfish get a little closer during the feeding of sinking pellets (I
know you think you know where this is headed, but no I didn't get stung, ha). In the past two days, I've finally let him come up to my hand and take the food from there. He bites... It's a little 3/16" slit he makes
on my fingertip. Now, I certainly know they are poisonous in their fins, but my fingertip is a little "tingly" around these 5 nips - and I wondered if it's just the little "ouch" of a couple of fish bites, or if there is any toxin in their bite?
<Don't think so... but not a good idea to have open cuts in our tanks>
Granted, he's not going to get fed this way much longer because I need to type with that finger, but thought it was interesting - given all you ever read about are the sting from their dorsal and anal fins.
Incidentally, my Tomini Tang and Pacific Blue Tang also eat from my hand, but don't produce the same slits on my fingertip (or any bites), and certainly no tingling. His fin is not getting me, it is certainly his bite, and is also very uniform in shape/size.
Thanks in advance,
Jon Hoover
<Thank you for sharing Jon. Bob Fenner>

Zoanthid Spider (Pycnogonid sp.) bite!!! HELP   5/23/07 <Hi tasty human!  Mich here!> I got bit by one of these things on my finger.   <Ouch!> Am I in danger?   <Are you standing in front of a bus?  Holding a lit stick of dynamite?  Perhaps eating something with trans fat?>   Are they poisonous? <No.  They are not poisonous.   More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pycnogonids.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seaspiderfaqs.htm  > I got bit about 4 hours ago and it hurt a bit, but I am not in any pain right now.  It looks a bit swelled up and red but nothing major. <I would keep and eye on it.  If it gets worse consult a doctor.  I think your biggest issue is the possibility of infection.  If you see a red line going up your hand don't waste any time and seek medical attention, can be a sign of septicemia which can be quite serious.  Perhaps a little ice might help reduce the swelling.> [IMG] http://www.zoaid.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemI d=398&g2_serialNumber=2[/IMG] <Nice picture!> Please let me know any information you guys can. <Hope this helps and you are feeling better soon.  Mich>

Re: Zoanthid Spider (Pycnogonid sp.) bite!!! HELP   5/23/07 <Hello again tasty human, Mich here!> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome!  Happy to help!> I am glad to hear I'm ok lol.   <Me too!  But do keep an eye on it.  There are a lot of nasty infections you can be exposed to in marine systems.> Have you ever heard of anyone getting bit by them before? <I personally have not, but I do not have much experience with these creatures either. Mich>   

Dangerous Puffers... to human aquarists! SW sel.   7/27/07 Not a question, just a quick story. I was putting an algae sheet on a clip in the tank this morning for my angel and tangs, and my dogface puffer bit the heck outta my finger. Man, those guys have sharp teeth! Beware!!! Thomas <Yep, that can happen. If you've ever seen pufferfish feed in the wild, you won't EVER underestimate their power. They can bite off chunks of coral or grind up oysters without any problems at all. It isn't so much the sharpness of their teeth, but the huge jaw muscles. The whole deal with the bug-eyed face and external nostrils you see on puffers is to make space in the head for the jaw musculature. Thanks for writing, Neale.>

Snowflake Eel Bite -- 11/28/2007 Hi! <Hello.> I have read through the posts on snowflake morays. I could not find an answer to my question. I care for a 300 gallon tank at the junior high where I teach science. I have had a snowflake eel in my home aquarium and have never had a problem like this. Today while trying to feed the inhabitants of the tank, at school, the snowflake eel was wildly thrashing in and out of the tank. I had some silversides for him and the lion fish so I grabbed one with me fingers to give him (I know, not recommended ) anyway, he latched onto my finger and would not let go without some coaxing. After he let go I had several small piercings in my finger, and was bleeding. I cleaned the injury with peroxide, but was wondering - do they carry any weird bacteria that could be infectious. <Several dangerous bacteria have been found in the mouths of moray eels, among them Vibrio and Pseudomonas. If the wound swells, is becoming severely red or you feel insecure about what to do, visit a medical doctor. In addition many (probably all) moray eels possess a weak toxin produced by club shaped cells in their skin, that might be transferred by a bite. Dizziness and tremendous pain are reported symptoms, but the toxin is so far not considered very dangerous (perhaps only to allergic persons).> I don't know where else to seek an answer. <The aquarium magazine TFH had an article on moray bites in its September issue. Possibly will be at WWM some day, too.> Living in Cheyenne, Wyoming doesn't afford me a wealth of expert advise. <So far I am not aware of anyone, who died due to a moray eel bite, but I am aware of some people, who had to go to the hospital, some because of infection, some because of massive loss of tissue (larger eels). Although most moray eel bites heal without infection and further problems, I'd stop hand feeding. Fingers and silversides are not the healthiest diet anyway. Clam and mussel meat, squid and crustaceans should be used to alter the diet.> Thanks in advance for any info you can provide. <Hope that helps. Cheers, Marco.>

Question on bites Hi, My name is Phillip and I was wondering if you could help me out. I live in Miami Florida and yesterday I went swimming in our community lake with a few friends of mine and about one hour later we got out and were sitting there and we all started getting an overwhelming itching sensation all over our bodies from top to bottom. We then went and all took a shower and washed ourselves from head to toe with soap and water and nothing. We then went to the drug store and got aloe and also anti-itch cream it barely helped but the itching sensation went away very slowly. My four friends and I woke up this morning and we all had approximately 200 bites all over our body. They were red bites that looked similar to an ant bite or sea lice or even a mosquito bite. I was just wondering if you new what happened or if you know what bit us. I would really appreciate it if we new what we were bit by. And if you don't know maybe you can give us an idea as to what it was so I can further research it.  Thank you very much.  Phillip <Likely "Swimmer's itch", aka schistosomal dermatitis. Put these terms in your search engines. Bob Fenner>

Tessalata eel bit me - is he poisonous hello I have a foot and a half long Tessalata eel (Dragon) and he became a little aggressive during feeding time (didn't know where finger ended and food began) and sliced my finger with his teeth.  I didn't know if they are poisonous or not.  I am almost 100% sure they are not but please let me know!! thanks, Jessica <Ouch! Not poisonous or venomous, however moray mouths can be dirty microbially... best to wash the wound site with very warm water and disinfect with what you would for any open cut... Keep the wound clean and dry... and have it checked out if it seems to become infected. Bob Fenner>

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