Young girl loses chunk of toe to toadfish

Hayley Allen, 11, is facing weeks of hospital visits after being bitten by a toadfish in Whitsunday waters.
Hayley Allen, 11, is facing weeks of hospital visits after being bitten by a toadfish in Whitsunday waters. Sharon Smallwood

WEAR shoes.

This is the advice from an 11-year-old girl who lost a chunk of the second toe on her right foot when she was bitten by a toadfish.

Hayley Allen was kayaking in the Whitsunday waters off Funnel Bay with her brothers Tyson, 6, and Rhys, 5, late last month.

The children were in waist-deep water and Hayley was dangling her legs over the kayak's side.

Suddenly, she felt what she described as a "nip", before looking down and seeing a pale brown fish with faint spots.

Hayley's mum, Crystal Allen, said what happened next was like a scene from a horror movie.

"They were all just in the water and screaming," she said.

Ms Allen took Hayley straight to Proserpine Hospital, where it was determined that the ball of her second toe had been completely taken off.

"One of the nurses said straight away it would have to have been a toadfish to do that damage," she said.

Having never even heard of toadfish before, Ms Allen didn't initially believe her daughter when she said she'd been bitten by a fish.

"But now it turns out there are lots of stories," she said.

"The older locals are actually quite aware and they do know (they exist)."

One person with in-depth knowledge of toadfish incidents is David Colfelt, author of the Whitsundays' boating bible, 100 Magic Miles.

In his book, Mr Colfelt tells the story of a giant toadfish nicknamed "Thomas the Terrible", responsible for robbing six-year-old Margaret Lewis of two toes in Shute Harbour during the Easter weekend of 1979.

Later that year, a toadfish took what Mr Colfelt described as "a walnut-sized chunk" from the leg of a boy wading in Cid Harbour and a fisherman named Richard Timperley was chased by the sharp-beaked beast.

The case attracted media and public attention and the then Proserpine shire council put a $10 bounty on the marine menaces.

Toadfish are found in shallow coastal waters along the east coast from north Queensland to southern New South Wales.

Topics:  attack bite fish kayak whitsundays

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

UPDATE: Jockey remains in ICU at Coffs Harbour

INJURED: Jockey Kirk Matheson was injured in a fall during racing at Clarence Valley Jockey Club.

Injured jockey Kirk Matheson rushed into surgery.

PHOTOS: Meet our kindy students

Newrybar Public School

My First Year commemorates the start of school for kinders

Johnny Cash tribute will take you back to Folsom Prison

COUNTRY: Singer Daniel Thompson as Johnny Cash.

Johnny Cash The Concert Revisits Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

Local Partners