‘You wouldn’t know you are supposed to stay away from them’
Portuguese men-of-war found on Kennington Cove beach.
A North Sydney woman who spotted two Portuguese men-of-war on Kennington Cove beach Sunday says people should be on the look out for the venomous animal on land and in water.
“I was just walking down the beach, as I normally do. They were up towards the back of the beach where there is a lot of rock. I think high tide must have washed them up,” said Wendy Russell, who found the tropical marine animal, which packs a powerful sting, at the first beach.
“They were just sitting around, being blown by the wind. They were very noticeable but if you don’t know what they are, then you wouldn’t know you are supposed to stay away from them.”
Russell took pictures of the animals and sent them to the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources for removal because their sting is very painful.
“They were bright purple blobs on the beach. The top polyp was sticking out of the sand and you could see them moving in the wind,” she said.
“I didn’t want to pick them up myself because I have some experience with wildlife and I know not to pick these guys up myself.”
Calls to the Natural Resources weren’t returned by time of publication.
Russell saw many people walk by them without noticing them, making her believe they didn’t know what they were or how dangerous and painful their sting can be.
Portuguese men-of-war are often confused for jellyfish but are actually a type of siphonophore, a group of organisms that work together. Four polyps make up a man-of-war and the tentacles are usually between 30 and 98 feet long, with a body that is 12 inches long and five inches wide.
Even on land, their sting can be extremely painful. However, it is more dangerous to be stung by them in the water. Some people have died after trying to swim back to shore after being stung by one.
Men-of-war float in the water in groups as large as 1,000 or more and either drift along the current or fill their top polyp to catch the wind. Swimmers should leave the water when they spot these polyps floating along or move a safe distance away from them.
Anyone spotting a man-ofwar on the beach should not touch it and notify the Department of Natural Resources immediately.
Two Portuguese men-of-war were spotted on Kennington Cove beach.