‘Excruciatingly painful’: Scorpion-like fish no urban myth
This spiky little creature is a member of the scorpion fish family, and it's best to keep well away from it.
The bullrout ‒ also known as a freshwater stonefish or kroki ‒ is found in rivers and creeks right across the Northern Rivers.
According to the Australian Museum, the bullrout should be handled with extreme care.
"The dorsal, anal and pelvic spines all have venom glands," the website states.
"A puncture wound from one of these spines can be excruciatingly painful."
The bullrout has a large head and a big mouth with a protruding lower jaw.
It can be pale yellowish to dark brown, with blotches and marbling of dark brown, red-brown, grey or black.
These fish can grow to 30cm in length, but are more commonly only 5-10cm long.
They are found from northern Queensland down to southern NSW.
Reptile Solutions recently posted about the creature on their Facebook page as a warning for anyone heading to local waterways to cool off.
"They are not an urban myth to keep the tourists away from the local waterholes," they wrote.
"These little guys are very much real, and can be commonly found in many rivers and creeks … they are basically a freshwater stonefish, a member of the scorpion fish family.
"They are often found around obstructions such as rocks and logs in or near fast flowing water.
"Stepping on one of these guys can ruin a fun afternoon, causing excruciating pain to the affected limb.
"First aid treatment involves immersing affected area in hot water and seek further medical assistance."