November 30, 2023
Portuguese O’War man washes up on Sussex beaches after storms

Portuguese O’War man washes up on Sussex beaches after storms

The potentially dangerous animals, known as Portuguese Man O’War, are related to jellyfish.

Sussex Wildlife Trust previously said: “In recent years we appear to have seen increasing numbers of Portuguese Man O’ War washed up on Sussex beaches.

“Normally more common in the far west of the English Channel, this species has been spotted on several Sussex beaches following the recent storms.”

Although they are related to jellyfish, they are actually a colonial animal called a siphonophore.

“These creatures are beautifully colored but are dangerous – do not attempt to handle them as they have a nasty sting that can be fatal in rare cases,” the spokesperson said.

Vikki Bianco, from Brighton, spotted two on Rottingdean beach earlier this week.

Writing on Facebook, she said: “I called the seaside office and reported this to the Wildlife Trust as apparently they monitor where they are appearing in the UK.

“But it made me think that maybe I wouldn’t swim for a few days, in the hope that they would disappear back into the sea.

“The tentacles can still sting 5 days after they die, so don’t touch them.”

The creatures have been spotted as far east as Hastings, where the council has issued a warning to residents visiting beaches.

A spokeswoman for Hastings Borough Council said: “We have received reports of Portuguese warships appearing on local beaches.

“They are deep blue or purple in color and have an air-filled sac that floats on the surface of the water.”

The council reiterated the warning not to touch the creatures and referred people to the NHS council.

In case of a bite, the advice is:

  • rinse the affected area with sea water (not fresh water)
  • remove any spines from the skin using tweezers or the edge of a bank card
  • Soak the area in very hot water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 minutes – use warm flannels or towels if you cannot soak
  • take pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen

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