The beach may be your happy place, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers lurking there.
Your day of fun can take a wrong turn without even touching the water, thanks to harmful UV rays. Of course, the stakes are higher once you hit the water.
Not all threats have a dorsal fin and sharp teeth, though. In fact, some of the creatures you need to look out for are too small to even see. One Australian teen learned this the hard way, after taking a dip in the Pacific ocean near his home in Melbourne, Australia.
It all started when 16-year-old Sam Kanizay decided to go for a swim after his football practice to soothe his sore muscles. Unfortunately, the experience ended up being far from relaxing for him — or his legs.
Instead, Sam emerged from the ocean with blood covering his ankles, but there were no predators in sight to lay the blame on.
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[H/T: New York Times]
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Sam was admitted to the hospital following what initially seemed like an uneventful swim.
However, when he came out of the water, he and his family knew that there was something wrong.
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Sam explains, “I walked out and saw what I thought was sand covering my calf and shook it off, and by the time I’d walked across the sand about 20 meters to put my thongs on, I looked down and noticed I had blood all over my ankles.”
At first, Sam says there was no pain, because the cold water numbed his legs and he thought any sensation was just pins and needles.
However, the blood was an indication of what was to come.
Once Sam was admitted to the hospital, doctors were able to confirm that the pests responsible for what “looked like hundreds of little pinholes or pin-sized bites distributed all over my ankle and the top of my foot” were in fact a type of sea lice, though they aren’t sure what variety is responsible for the damage.
Twitter / @7NewsMelbourne
Sam’s father decided to take matters into his own hands and quite literally test the waters.
He went down to the same beach where Sam was injured with a pool net full of raw meat and observed dozens of microscopic sea bugs tearing into it immediately.
He caught a few, which were identified as meat-loving lysianassid amphipods, a tiny type of crustacea. Still, doctors have not been able to confirm what exactly chewed up Sam’s legs.
Jeff Weir, a marine biologist from the area shared his similar experience, according to ABC.
He attributes the severity of Sam’s bites to the fact that he was stationary for a period of time — long enough for the sea bugs to do a lot of damage.
Typically, bites from sea lice resemble a mild rash, rather than this gory assault.
Wikimedia Commons / 7Barrym0re
Not surprisingly, sea lice are an issue for all types of animals, not just humans. They also aren’t restricted to the waters off Australia; sea lice are found in all areas of the ocean.
While the bloody experience was certainly disturbing, Sam and his family say that they will still swim at the beach and scene of the crime.
They will not, however, stay still the same way Sam did that made him vulnerable to being feasted on.
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