If you have plans to visit Myrtle Beach in South Carolina this summer, be aware. Officials are warning beach goers that the Portuguese Man-O-Wars have been spotted along the shore and have even been washing up on the beach.
The Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue warned beach goers on their Facebook page to avoid the creatures as stepping on or touching one of the creatures can deliver a sharp sting. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says that if a man-o-war has washed up on the beach, even if it looks dried out, can still be highly venomous.
“If you see these creatures lying on the beach please do not touch them. Please inform the lifeguard services or one of our beach patrols and we will make sure that it gets disposed of properly,” the Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue wrote.
The man-o-wars have been spotted on the north end of the beach and should be treated respectfully. Take extra caution not to touch the jellyfish-like creatures, especially on their tentacles.
Despite looking like a jellyfish, a man-o-war isn’t actually a true jellyfish according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. It isn’t even a single animal. “Instead, the sea creature is a colony of numerous organisms called polyps or zooids that are so specialized that they cannot live without each other,” according to the department.
If you plan on visiting the beach in South Carolina this summer, be extra cautious. Please share this with your family and friends so their vacations aren’t ruined if they’re headed to the east coast either!