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Boy almost loses toe in puffer fish attack

12:58 Sat Apr 7 2012
By MSN NZ staff
A ferocious puffer fish
A ferocious puffer fish

A five-year old boy almost lost a toe after being mauled by a rare puffer fish at a Thursday Island beach.

Tom Horn, from the Torres Strait, had to be operated on after large chunks of flesh were bitten out of his feet during the attack two months ago, news.com.au reports.

Tom's father, Senior Sergeant Jamie Horn, said his son received "unbelievable wounds" requiring 30 stitches and had to stay in hospital for two weeks.

"The ball of his left big toe was missing and a chunk of flesh was missing out of his right heel,'' Senior Sergeant Horn said.

A ferocious puffer fish (feroxodon multistriatus) was believed to be responsible.

The attack was so rare that doctors at the Cairns Base Hospital, where Tom was treated, plan to write a report about the incident for a medical journal.

The odd-looking fish has been described as a combination of a tadpole and a great white shark and has been known to take off people's toes in the past.