Giant ‘killer’ jellyfish invade UK beaches during heatwave
Although rare – with just 62 reported sightings in the last year – windy weather and strong tides can see imposing Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish washing up on British beaches
Brits are being warned to keep their eyes peeled as giant ‘killer’ jellyfish are set to hit Britain’s beaches during this week’s heatwave.
The tentacles of the imposing sea creatures can grow up to 50 meters long – that corresponds to the size of five double-decker buses.
Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish have an incredibly powerful stinger and can cause agony to anyone unfortunate enough to get caught.
Although rare – there were just 62 reported sightings in the UK last year – they can wash up on our beaches in windy weather and strong tides.
Children and the elderly are particularly at risk from their unsuspecting bites.
Leatherback sea turtles migrate to British seas in the summer to feast on the jellyfish, which are actually a swimming colony of very small animals. So if you see a Portuguese man o’ war, a turtle might not be too far away either.
Beachgoers are urged to stay away from the oval, translucent jellyfish to avoid painful injuries.
They have been known to occasionally kill people.
Beaches across the country are set to heave over the next few days as Britain looks set to scorch with some temperatures topping 32C.
A rise in temperature will not affect the amount of jellyfish that can invade UK shores, but it is important for sunbathers to be aware of the dangers and the signs to look out for.
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The NHS has some helpful advice for anyone who gets stung and the recommendation is to flush the affected area with seawater rather than freshwater.
You should also remove any spines from the skin with tweezers or the edge of a bank card and soak the area in very warm water, as hot as possible, for at least 30 minutes, using hot washcloths or towels if soaking is not possible.
It’s also recommended to take pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you can.
The NHS says you shouldn’t use vinegar to treat the stings, nor should you pee on them.
Do not place ice or cold packs on the sting, do not touch spikes with bare hands, and do not cover or close the wound.
In 2010, Maria Furcas, 69, suffered an allergic reaction and died after being stabbed in the leg by a warship while swimming with her sister at Porto Tramatzu, near Cagliari, Sardinia. The sun reports.
And in 2018, 13-year-old Verity Stainton left the sea with burn injuries after being engulfed by the jellyfish while swimming near Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire.
Amy Pilsbury, Citizen Science Program Developer at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish have a very strong sting. So if you see her oval, transparent float with a comb, stay away.
“Our records of jellyfish sightings show that these jellyfish-like creatures (they are actually a swimming colony of very small animals) are extremely rare in Britain. We had 62 reported sightings of the Portuguese Man O’ War in 2021.”
She added: “Jellyfish come to UK shores every year during the summer months, but it has more to do with the wind bringing the Portuguese Man o’ War to our shores than the effects of temperature.
“Because of their large, air-filled floats, they can be easily blown up in windy weather, so you can often spot more than one.
“When it comes to getting bitten, the best advice is to just keep your distance. The NHS offers advice on what to do if you get stung.
“Please share your sighting with us at the Marine Conservation Society. All the information we get about jellyfish sightings helps us understand when, where and why these creatures show up on our shores. Leatherback turtles head to the British seas for a jellyfish festival in the summer, so a jelly by the sea could mean a turtle is around.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gigantic-killer-jellyfish-set-invade-27251718 Giant 'killer' jellyfish invade UK beaches during heatwave