If you plan on watching Shark Week later this month, then you should definitely continue reading because there’s another fierce creature of the ocean that has made its way into the public eye.
The Portuguese Man O’ War (a terrifying name, if you ask us) is a relative of the jellyfish that can grow up to one-foot long and five inches wide, with tentacles that can span 165 feet!
This monster of the deep has a sting that can be fatal to humans, so when Man O’ Wars began popping up all over Long Beach Island during these past few weeks, water hazards were issued by all lifeguards in the area. They are encouraging swimmers to be aware and stay near a lifeguard, and perhaps most importantly, to not touch a washed up Man O’ War if they spot one on the beach.
You can differentiate between these creatures and other Jellyfish because the Portuguese Man O’ War has a body part that floats above the water at all times. That is why it is often called a blue bottle jellyfish, because the floating portion looks like a clear blue bubble or bottle as it is filled with toxic gases like carbon monoxide.
If a swimmer gets stung by one of these beasts, news sites are reporting ways to handle the injury. Experts advise getting out of deep water immediately, rinsing the area off with seawater, removing leftover tentacles (with something other than your hand), applying vinegar to help stop the pain, and finally, coating the area with hydrocortisone cream.
Experts say that the Portuguese Man O’ War prefers warmer waters, which means that they are not uncommon to find off of the Atlantic shores later in the summertime. They cannot propel themselves, so the wind or the Gulf Stream current can easily move them towards the northeast.
So, next time you see a bottle floating in the Atlantic Ocean, you may want to swim in the opposite direction!