United Kingdom

Mum issues warning to beachgoers after venomous fish turns her foot purple

A mum is warning beachgoers to wear shoes in the water after she stepped on a venomous fish leaving her in “excruciating pain” and turning her foot purple and red.

Ceri Durrant, 45, was returning to the shore after swimming in the sea at Pentewan Beach off the Cornish coast when she stepped on a weever.

Minutes after returning to the sand, Ceri said the tiny sting started to cause excruciating pain before the wound turned purple and red.

Ceri did a quick Google search and confirmed she had been stung by the venomous weever, which can grow to about 30cm long and are common in British waters.

The spot where Ceri was stung is in the yellow circle

This is what a weever fish looks like as it can grow to be 30cm long and uses its dorsal fin to sting
This is what a weever fish looks like as it can grow to be 30cm long and uses its dorsal fin to sting

Ceri said she would have rather gone through labour again than to be stung by a weever.

Ceri was stung on the first day of a family holiday with her husband Jez, 43, daughters, Emily, 16, Jessica, 14 and Lucie, 10, and decided to endure the pain without treatment.

She hasn’t let the sting dampen her holiday as she says she’s enjoyed going back in the water but is warning others to be vigilant when they go swimming this summer and to wear shoes in the water.

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Ceri, from Warwickshire, said: “The pain was really, really intense, and I guess that’s because of the venom that, when you move your foot, spreads that little bit more.

“I’ve been stung by a wasp before, that was painful but nothing in comparison to [this]. I did say that I’d rather be in labour with one of my kids again.

“At least I would have had something nice at the end of it.”

She added: “We’ve been in the sea already this morning, we’ve got our beach shoes on.

“It’s just one of those things you don’t take account of until it happens to you. But I definitely recommend some beach shoes.”

Ceri and her family have already gone back in the water after she was stung but now she recommends others to wear shoes in the water
Ceri and her family have already gone back in the water after she was stung but now she recommends others to wear shoes in the water

The weever is a small, sand-coloured fish that buries itself in the sand.

When it gets stepped on, the weever embeds its dorsal fin into the foot before pumping venom into the skin.

Her family are regular visitors of the Pentewan Sands Holiday Park and had returned for the first time since the pandemic forced them to cancel last year’s trip.

Mum issues warning to beachgoers after venomous fish turns her foot purple
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Ceri said: “My husband came as a kid, his parents brought them every year, he said how nice it was and we’ve always enjoyed our holidays here and this is our 5th year here now.”

However, Ceri had never encountered the fish before.

Ceri said: “It was quite intense the pain, almost like you get a cramp in your calf, it’s a lot like that in the foot, like a sharp pain to the end of my toes, it’s quite bizarre.

“Initially, when it happened, it just felt like a needle piercing, which obviously took me by surprise.

Ceri endured the pain without treatment as most of her symptoms have subsided after 24 hours
Ceri endured the pain without treatment as most of her symptoms have subsided after 24 hours

“I didn’t have a clue what it was, to begin with, and I kept checking my foot as I was trying to hobble out of the water.

“By the time I got back to where we were on the beach and sat down, it was like a purple splodge just around where it had stung me, and the underside of my foot started to go red and spread up to the topside of my foot.

“Your foot is spasming like you would do in labour so when you’re contracting, it does feel like that but obviously it’s in your foot.”

Ceri remembered reading a post on the Pentewan Facebook page about warning beach-goers of the fish.

Symptoms from a weever sting can last up to a week, according to the NHS.

Fortunately for Ceri, the swelling and pain on her foot began to subside after 24 hours.

Ceri said: “I’ve got redness still on the foot and some swelling on the top of my foot but I’m able to put weight on it. It’s still there, it’s a bit achy still.”


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