WATCH OUT: Swimmers at Sandy Hook are being warned to watch out for the poisonous bullrout after a girl was stung at the weekend.
WATCH OUT: Swimmers at Sandy Hook are being warned to watch out for the poisonous bullrout after a girl was stung at the weekend. Queensland Museum

Swimmers warned to watch out for bullrouts after girl stung

SWIMMERS at Sandy Hook are being warned to watch out for bullrouts, also known as a the freshwater stonefish.

The warning comes after a young girl stood on a bullrout during the weekend.

Sandy Hook Ski Club has used social media to warn water users.

"A young girl unfortunately stood on one down near the third boat ramp late yesterday,” a post on Facebook said.

"(It was) extremely painful but she is now recovering.”

A bullrout is a pale yellowish to dark-brown coloured fish with venomous spines.

It can be a danger to humans as its dorsal, anal, and pelvic spines have venom glands and should be handled with extreme care.

According to the Queensland Museum a puncture wound from one of these spines can be excruciatingly painful.

Bullrouts are responsible for most fish stings that happen in upper tidal reaches and freshwaters of New South Wales and Queensland.

The fish is armed with 15 sharp, strong dorsal spines that readily penetrate the feet or hands of unwary swimmers.

When the spines enter a wound, venom is transferred up the spine into the flesh, and causes the victim excruciating pain.

They are well camouflaged and sluggish, preferring to stand their ground and erect their spines when disturbed, rather than to retreat as most other fishes do.

Stings often happen at popular swimming spots such as river crossings and causeways.

Treatment for immediate relief of pain associated with the sting of a bullrout, immerse the affected area in hot water.

Bullrouts are most commonly found at the foot of dams and weirs and close to the limit of brackish water, or tidal influence, sheltering among water weeds, rocks or sunken logs.

The best preventative measure is to wear sturdy footwear in areas likely to be frequented by bullrout and to avoid diving among stands of aquatic plants and submerged tree roots.



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