I have seen many blue rings handled with no problems. I myself have handled them and feel that there is very little risk involved with them. I have had much more severe reactions from Palythoas, in fact have had to visit the hospital in the Marshall Islands once due to improperly handling Palythoa rocks.
Alex Kerstich did some studies on blue rings once and found that there were at least 5 different sub species of blue rings. His thoughts were that only the larger one found along the Australian coast was a threat. I have watched fishermen pick them out of the rocks with their fingers and hold them tightly in their hands for restraint when catching them. The natives have no fear of them in most islands. Generally if something is dangerous the natives will know and respect them. I have not found that at all the case with blue rings.
I will not bring them in due to the high mortality during shipment and the short life span. I was approached to bring some in for the thread starter but did not want to due to the mortality issue. I think that there is much more of a liability issue with lion fish and stone fish from a health risk view.
Thales;98404 said:An importer wrote this in the Industry forum on RDO:
Thales;98416 said:FWIW, most of the people I have known who have had blue rings haven't kept them for macho poison reasons, rather they thought the animal looked cool, and a good chunk of those people didn't know the animal was toxic.
It seems that thinking a lot of the people who keep blue rings want to prove they are fearless around a toxic animals is also one of those "anecdotes escalated to fact".
monty;98420 said:Well, maybe my reading between the lines skills are weak, but I inferred that a number of the posters on that thread thought it was appealing to own blue-rings specifically because they are toxic, and that some looked down on people who expressed concern (and others looked down on people who didn't express concern.) I doubt most of those people actually own blue rings, they probably just mouth off a lot, so maybe blue ring owners aren't a problem so much as people who say they want to be blue ring owners (or trolls in general...)
I also worry about, say, postal workers dealing with shipped blue-rings-- if the package is misaddressed or leaking or arrives when only the 8 year old is there to sign for it, and they have to open it up for some reason, if it's not labeled "caution: fatally toxic octopus" it could be a serious problem.
Debbie of Mote relayed a story about receiving an unexpected batch of blue rings from a pet store that did not order them and was in a panic. She mentioned that they did not show the rings when they arrived and commented that it would have been so easy to see one in the wild and play with it without knowing its nature.