Found in the coastal waters of Ireland, this intriguing creature possesses a venomous sting that can cause painful injuries. In this article, we’ll explore some need-to-know information about weaver fish, including lesser-known facts about the species, their habitat, how to avoid getting stung by them and what to do if you get stung by a weever fish!

Trachinus draco: Wiki Images 

What to do if you are stung By A Weaver Fish

If you feel a sharp “needle-like” pain while walking out to sea on a sandy beach it is more than likely a weaver fish.

  1. Make your way to shore and alert a lifeguard.
  2. If you are bathing at a beach with no lifeguard you need to source boiling water as soon as possible.
  3. The treatment for weaver fish stings is to immerse the stung area in water that is, as hot as you can tolerate. This is not at all pleasant but the hea will essentially cook the protein in the venom and prevent it from spreading.
  4. Keep your foot immersed for as long as you can tolerate until the pain, from the sting, has subsided.

Our Experience

We were most recently stung by a weaver fish while swimming at Inch Beach Co. Cork. There was no lifeguard on duty. Our solution was to drive to the nearest petrol station and get boiling water from their coffee machine. The shop assistants were very accommodating and didn’t charge us. We then submerged our sting in about 80% boiling water and 20% cold water for about 30 minutes. We constantly added boiling water to keep the temperature as high as we could tolerate. The initial pain subsided in 2 hours after soaking while tenderness continued for a few more days. The discomfort that persisted did not hinder us and we were able to go for a run the next day.

Reactions from Weaver Fish can be varied depending on the severity and location of the sting. If the pain persists for longer than a few hours we would advise getting medical assistance. It is possible that a spine is stuck in your foot. This can lead to infection if not tended to.

Watch our video here

How to Avoid Weaver Fish Stings

To minimize the risk of getting stung by a weaver fish, follow these precautions:

  1. Wear Protective Footwear: When walking on sandy or muddy shores, wear sandals or water shoes to protect your feet from stings.
  2. Shuffle Your Feet: When wading in shallow waters, shuffle your feet along the seabed. this will kick up the sand which will alert the fish. This will give them a chance to move away.
  3. Avoid swimming at low tide on sandy beaches.

Species Overview

The greater weever or stingfish, scientifically known as Trachinus draco, is a venomous fish species commonly found in the coastal waters of Ireland. Belonging to the Trachinidae family, it can typically grow up to 30 centimetres or 12 inches in length.


Weaver fish are primarily found in sandy and muddy coastal areas, particularly in shallow waters close to the shore. They inhabit the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, including the Irish Sea and the Celtic Sea.

Physical Characteristics

The weaver fish has a slender body and features a dorsal fin with venomous spines as its primary defence mechanism. Its colouration is typically brown, grey, or green, allowing it to blend seamlessly with its environment.

More Information on Weever Fish

Weaver fish have venom that is a mixture of various toxins, including proteins and enzymes. This venom can cause severe pain and impact the nervous system, leading to localized swelling, redness and potential allergic reactions. These fish are skilled at partially burying themselves in the sand and exposing only their eyes and venomous spines, making them challenging to spot and increasing the likelihood of accidental encounters. Weaver fish are carnivorous and primarily consume small fish, crustaceans, and other marine invertebrates. They use their sharp teeth to capture their prey and swallow it whole.

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By Matthew McConnell

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