Deadly 'jellyfish' washed up at Seaton

PUBLISHED: 10:47 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:26 17 January 2020

A Portuguese man o' war washed up on Seaton beach. Picture: Alex Walton

A Portuguese man o' war washed up on Seaton beach. Picture: Alex Walton

Picture: Alex Walton

Dog walkers at Seaton have been warned to watch out for potentially lethal Portuguese man o' war that have been washed up on the pebble beach.

A Portuguese man o' war washed up on Seaton beach. Picture: Alex WaltonA Portuguese man o' war washed up on Seaton beach. Picture: Alex Walton

Although their venomous sting is rarely fatal to humans, it can kill an animal.

A spokeswoman for East Devon District Council which owns the beach issued the following advice:

"Please be aware that Portuguese man o' war are being washed up on beaches around the south west, due to Storm Brendan and associated weather systems pushing them up from the Caribbean and mid-Atlantic waters.

"So far in East Devon they have only been found in small numbers at Seaton but of course could occur anywhere along the coast.

Dog walkers on Seaton beach. Picture: Alex WaltonDog walkers on Seaton beach. Picture: Alex Walton

"These creatures, which resemble a jellyfish, are actually Siphonophorae - a colony of small celled individual animals known as zooids, living as one organism.

"Their tentacles have a nasty sting, which although only rarely fatal to an adult, could seriously harm a dog or small child.

"Because the polyps that cause the sting are separate organisms from the main body of the creature, they can continue to sting for weeks after they drift ashore, so care must be taken not to touch them, even when they appear dead.

"If anyone finds one or more of these creatures, they must not touch them, but should instead report them to StreetScene on 01404 515616, who will try to clear them up as soon as possible after they are reported.

"Please keep dogs and small children away from any Portuguese man o' war that you find and if anyone does happen to be stung, please seek medical attention immediately."

* The NHS says anyone stung by a Portuguese man o' war should remove any tentacles from the skin and rinse the affected area with sea water and then hot water.

If symptoms persist or the sting is on a sensitive area of the body, medical advice should be sought immediately.

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