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Jellyfish at Oceanogràfic aquarium, Valencia
Photograph: Tamara Larissa/Shutterstock

Giant ‘killer jellyfish’ are heading for the UK’s beaches

The warmer weather means Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish could be in British waters this weekend

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson

The weather in the UK is going to reach record highs this weekend, meaning many of us are planning to head to the beach. If that’s you, then we bring some slightly random (and frightening) news: experts have warned that killer jellyfish could be heading for our shores. 

It may sound like something from a budget 1980s film. But according to the Marine Conservation Society, Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish could be tempted by the warmer waters and float over to our coastlines.

The creatures are seriously poisonous, and their venom can occasionally be fatal. More than 60 have been seen in the UK over the past year, and that number is like to increase as the weather gets hotter. Oh, and they’re huge – their tentacles average around 30 feet long, although some have been known to grow to 100 feet. 

The coastguard have asked the public to be vigilant and keep an eye out for the animals. If you’re especially worried, consider wearing waterproof shoes or sandals while paddling, and a wetsuit if swimming. And if you are stung, the NHS recommends rinsing the affected area with seawater, removing spines from the skin with tweezers and taking painkillers. Still feel unwell after that? Then you should see a doctor.

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