Swimmer’s hand mauled by coral reef fish after just 10 seconds in the water

Be aware of hidden dangers around water - A tiny fish could also kill you.

A woman in Australia mauled by a coral reef fish after 10 seconds in the water has required a skin graft for the gruesome wound.

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Julie Pochet, from Port Douglas in tropical far north Queensland, had just dived into the water at a local beach on November 26 when a fish bumped into her ribs. When the fish swam towards her, she reached her hand out of curiosity and it attacked, taking a chunk out of her hand.

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Pochet immediately jumped out of the water and went to the tap to rinse it. She also asked a tourist to run to the restaurant to get pepper — an old cook's trick — to stop the blood from flowing out. But the bite was so severe that it had damaged her nerve ends. She ended up getting a skin graft in the hospital.

Triggerfish/Designed Photo

Pochet was wearing a coral swimsuit at the time and thinks the fish may have confused her with live coral. She described the creature as a dark-colored fish that looked like a wrasse and was the size of a parrotfish.

Pufferfish/Designed Photo

Professor David Bellwood, a coral fish expert, suspects the fish was either a triggerfish or a puffer fish. Both species are known to bite humans and are common in tropical shallow waters. He warns swimmers to be extra careful.