The terrifying creatures are known as the Portuguese Man O’War and, shockingly, even one single sting from its giant tentacles can kill you. The jellyfish were spotted washed on the British coast at Sennen Beach and nearby Portheras Cove in Cornwall after stormy weather drove the giant sea creatures out from their open ocean dens. They are now on the hunt for plankton to feed on in the shallow waters around Cornwall.
While their purple bodies are around 12 inches long, their huge ribbon-like tentacles can reach up to 160 feet in length, and making this all the more alarming is that they are practically invisible.
Experts have warned that more killer jellyfish could soon be found washed up in Wales and along the South Coast.
A Wildlife Trust spokesman said: “The Portuguese Man O’War lives at the surface of the open ocean, held afloat by a gas-filled bladder.
“This has a crest-like structure at the top which acts as a sail.”
It is thought that strong westerly winds between September to December pushed the creatures in Britain’s direction
The spokesperson said: “They can’t swim and are at the mercy of the winds – which is why they often end up washed ashore after big storms.
“They are fearsome predators, catching small fish and crustaceans with their long stinging tentacles.”
They added that people really need to be aware of the enormous tentacles, even once the creature has died.
They said: “It’s these tentacles that you need to watch out for too — they can sting long after the animal has died.”
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But this is not the only sighting of a foreign jellyfish invasion, with reports that other species including the barrel jellyfish have also been swarming in.
The Marine Conservation Society has now sent out a warning that the rise in the number of jellyfish around the British coast “should no longer be ignored”.
A spokesman said: “Our national survey suggests significant recent rises.”
They warned that the young and elderly were most at risk of dying if they were stung by the beasts.
People have been urged not to keep their distance from the creatures, to not touch them, and to make sure and to make sure their pets are kept far away to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
There are known instances of people dying from getting stung by the creatures.
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In 2010, swimmer Maria Furcas died after suffering from an allergic reaction after getting tung by a Man O’War sting near Cagliari, Sardinia.
While cases can be life-threatening, it is more common for a sting to cause a mild to moderate reaction.
If you get stung, you should rinse the stung area with salt water, and apply concentrated vinegar solution if available.
This will inactivate the stingers and prevent the release of more toxins.