Portuguese man o’ war spotted on Phuket beaches

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They are carnivorous, almost invisible, they lurk just under the surface of the sea and their venom can cause severe pain or even death. And now they arrived in Phuket.

Rainy season brings more than just showers to our island. It also brings waves, and with them come Portuguese man o’ war – easily mistaken for jellyfish, they actually are siphonophores -  animals made up of a colony of organisms working in unison.

Their venom can easily paralyze small fish and other pray and cause severe pain in humans, and in extreme cases, death. And it gets worse – you don’t even need to encounter the whole animal, their detached tentacles can float for days and are as venomous as the Portuguese man o’ war itself.

Phuket Lifeguards have recently spotted this season’s first Portuguese man o’ war’s in Nai Thon Beach and posted warnings on social media, urging beachgoers not to touch the tentacles and to be careful when swimming.

Phuket Lifeguard Club Chief Prathaiyuth Chuayuan The Phuket News that all lifeguards on the west coast beaches are on alert and ready to provide help to tourists and local beach goers alike.

“Lifeguards have been provided with basic training on what to do should a swimmer get stung by a Portuguese man o’ war, and that is to wash the affected area with warm or seawater for 30 seconds to prevent the venom getting into the blood stream,” he said.

Photo: Volkan Yukie/Wikimedia