Portuguese Man o' War Warning


Several of Cornwall's beaches are currently experiencing an invasion of a hydrozoan known as the Portuguese man o' war (Physalia physalis).

These marine creatures have been washed onto beaches in unprecedented quantities during the last month (October 2017).

Exercise caution when walking on any beach where these creatures have been washed up.

Do not touch them. Keep children and dogs away from them.

The tentacles of this hydrozoan can be up to to 10 metres long and have a very painful sting which can sometimes be fatal.

The "sail" looks like a plastic bottle or elongated balloon with a bluish, purple tinge and the tentacles are bright blue.

If you are stung then wash off any tentacle material in salt water, dip your hand in sea water but do not use fresh water as the makes the sting feel more painful. Seek medical attention.

If your dog comes into contact with the venomous tentacles visit the nearest vet immediately.

Signs that your dog has been stung include sudden onset of yelping, limping, difficulty breathing or visible tentacle material on your dog.

You may not be able to see any sign of the tentacles on your dog but if if your pet suddenly appears distressed and there is a possibility that he/she has been stung then seek treatment from a vet urgently. The severity of the reaction is directly related to the amount of stings your dog has received. All sizes of dog are vulnerable.

If you try to remove tentacles from your dog use a stick, wear gloves or protect your hands as humans also suffer painful stings from these creatures.


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