‘You wouldn’t know you are sup­posed to stay away from them’

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN ni­cole.sul­li­van@cb­

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.

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