Monster jellyfish ‘up to 6ft long’ washing up on UK beaches in 28C heatwave
Giant jellyfish that could be up to 6ft long have been washing up on UK beaches during this week’s heatwave.
Shocked locals have been sharing pictures of their encounters with the big creatures.
Mateo Sandford, from Thorton-Cleveleys, Lancashire, said he came across a deceased jellyfish that was about one and a half meters long while walking on the beach this week, Lancs Live reports.
He shared two photos of the creature on a Facebook group, attracting numerous comments.
A person mistook it for an octopus, while another speculated if it was an alien left behind during the recent filming of Star Wars: Andor in the area.
One of the comments includes a photo of a dead stingray with a hook stuck in its mouth that two people came across while walking on the beach.
The creature found by Mateo is a barrel jellyfish. They usually swarm in warmer coastal waters in late spring and often wash up on our beaches in May or June, according to The Wildlife Trusts.
The creatures, which can weigh up to 35kg, are the UK’s largest jellyfish.
Their sting might be mildly irritating, but usually it is not harmful to humans.
Their favourite meal is plankton, which can be found in shallow waters, and as they underestimate their own size they often end up washed ashore.
They are identifiable by their translucent flesh and huge mushroom shaped bell along with their frilly tendrils below.
Dr Barry Kaye, Chair of Lancashire Marine Conservation Society, said: “They are not very dangerous, I am told that you can get a rash/burning sensation if you touch them, but the tentacles are not as extended or hard to see as those of the Lion’s Mane, so it is easy to avoid getting hurt.
“They are actually pretty common in the Irish sea, and typically a meter in diameter, though they can grow much larger.
“Occasionally, usually in the summer months, you will find one or two beached around the Bay area, as photographed here.”
If you come across a jellyfish on the beach, you could report the sighting to your local Wildlife Trust.
Also, it is not recommended to touch them as they can sting even when dead.