NORTH FREMANTLE, Australia, April 6 (UPI) -- An Australian mother said her children found a tennis ball and played with it "for a good 15-20 minutes" before discovering its contents: a deadly blue-ringed octopus.
Kristy Edgelow of Perth, Western Australia, said she and her kids were visiting the shore of the Swan River in North Fremantle when they decided to play catch with a tennis ball they found abandoned.
Edgelow shared photos from the experience with the River Guardians group on Facebook.
She explained the incident in a comment on the post:
"These are my photos and my children found this ball in the river with a little split in it, they then played catch with it for a good 15-20 minutes before my older son noticed something moving inside it and we got the fright of our lives when this little fellow popped his leg out and we realized it was a blue ringed octopus. They were so lucky not to have been bitten! My heart was racing that's for sure..so please watch out."
The River Guardians urged visitors to take heed of Edgelow's warning.
"They are cryptic animals that like to hide in crevices. Old tennis balls, shells and discarded containers provide perfect habitat for them. Keep an eye on pets and children exploring the foreshores as these highly toxic animals are as dangerous as they are colorful," the post said.
Clay Bryce, an aquatics expert with the Western Australia museum, said the venom of a blue-ringed octopus can prove deadly within minutes if it is left untreated.
"If someone does get bitten, perform CPR continuously until medical assistance arrives," Bryce told WAtoday.com.au.