Britain’s most poisonous fish is lurking in shallow waters at a north coast beach.
The weever fish has been found at Benone Beach and has already stung one local child.
Fiona Lagan, from the Benedy area near Dungiven, was at the beach on Saturday with her children when her four-year-old daughter, Maisie, started crying about a sore foot.
Fiona didn’t know what was wrong with her but, thanks to the assistance of RNLI lifeguards, the culprit was identified as a weever fish sting.
In extreme cases, the sting can lead to gangrene, and potentially fatal respiratory problems have been reported in the past but, thankfully, little Maisie is now feeling fine.
“The lifeguards knew straight away what it was because someone else had been stung by one in the past few days,” Fiona explained.
“We got back to the car and Maisie was crying and crying, squealing out of her, and I didn’t know what was wrong.
“I looked at her foot and there was no cut or anything. At first I thought it was broken glass or something she might have stood on.
“I didn’t want to be bothering the lifeguards because I thought they were only really there to deal with drownings and those sort of things, but they were really helpful.”
The treatment for a sting is fairly straightforward, and consists of soaking the foot in warm water which helps get rid of the toxins.
The weever fish has sharp spines laced with venom along its dorsal fin which stick up out of the sand, where it hides, and inflict agony on any unsuspecting bathers unlucky enough to tread on one.
The pain usually lasts for hours without treatment, is excruciating, and causes irritation that can last for weeks.