Tread carefully! Portuguese man o’war washing up on west coast beaches

A number of dangerous Portuguese man o’war have been washing up on beaches around the coast this week. These unusual creatures are not exactly a jellyfish but are a series of tiny organisms attached as a group and characteristically filled with potent toxins. Their sting is severe and one of the most dangerous of any sea creature. They are only occasional visitors to these shores so many beach goers can be unaccustomed to them.

They have washed up on three beaches around Achill island including Keel, Keem, and Bog Dock. Up to around 15 sightings have been reported in the area so far. More have washed up on Cork, Donegal, Clare and Galway.

The Achill Island Coast Guard have issued a cautionary warning for beach users. These creatures are dangerous dead or alive and can retain their sting for several weeks after washing ashore. People are being advised not to touch them and keep pets away. If you are stung seek medical attention immediately. In some cases exposure to this creatures can result in anaphylactic shock.

man of war

Portugeues man o’war Beautiful but dangerous

These creatures tend to travel in large numbers so more could be in the water. So if you are visiting the beach make sure you know what to look for so you can stay away. They can be blue, pink or purple in colour and have a large balloon like float that rises up above the water line. They can have extremely long tentacles that can be hard to see.

About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me ann@coastmonkey.ie or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22

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