Hundreds of the UK’s largest species of the creature, barrel jellyfish, have been sighted along the shores in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in recent weeks. Now parents are being urged to keep their children away from the jellyfish, which can grow to the size of dustbin lids, in case they get stung.
Sarah Hodgson, of Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Although the barrel jellyfish are large, they are gentle giants and are relatively harmless to humans. They have a very mild sting, which you probably wouldn’t really notice. But we would always advise people not to touch them just in case. There seem to be more barrel jellyfish around this year than over the past few years. They are wonderful creatures and mesmerising to watch in the water.”
Barrel jellyfish have eight frilly tentacles and a violet fringe around the bell. They can weigh up to an incredible 35kg and grow up to 90cm in diameter. They feed on plankton and are often seen in warm coastal waters in May and June. Barrel jellyfish are not poisonous but can leave people with a rash, similar to that from a nettle sting.