With sightings of jellyfish in Devon and along the coastline of the UK as common as ever, Stay in Devon has put together a guide for keeping safe from the creatures while visiting the beach.
Matt Fletcher from Stay In Devon said: “We want to put the minds of holidaymakers at ease by showing that jellyfish are not as harmful as they may appear. Swimming in the sea is one of the most enjoyable parts of a coastal holiday and one that should not be avoided simply because of jellyfish in the water.”
Dr Matthew Witt, Lecturer in Natural Environment at the University of Exeter said: “Jellyfish are an important part of our British wildlife and lead amazing lives - we see them year-round, but mostly in summer months and lots around the South West, this is a great place to see marine wildlife.
"But remember to look and don't touch. If you do happen to come into contact with a jellyfish then follow these simple instructions. Also, please take time to inform the Marine Conservation Society of your sighting as this information will help us to understand the health of our coastal seas.”
The guide itself contains useful information such as the fact that not all jellyfish found in the UK are able to sting humans. Also, advice from the NHS suggests that urinating on the affected area can, in fact, make the situation worse and instead to use shaving gel and ibuprofen to help ease pain and swelling.
Also, other facts such as the origins of jellyfish dating back more than 500 million years, that they are made up of more than 90% water, and also have no brains or bones are featured on the guide.
Where to find jellyfish in Devon?
With over 2,000 species, jellyfish can survive in a variety of climates from cold Arctic seas to warm tropical waters. But only six varieties can be seen close to UK shores.
Most of the time, it’s rare to see jellyfish so close to Devon beaches. However, warmer spells of weather in the summer months create the perfect climate for jellyfish to multiply, many of which drift on currents in warm, shallow waters or wash up on beaches around the county.
Moon jellyfish are the most common and are easily identified by their small purple rings. These jellies don’t have a particularly powerful sting, but if you do get brushed by one, you’ll feel a sensation like a stinging nettle sting.
The ‘spring bloom’ – when jellyfish multiply in warmer weather – occurs from May. If you fancy trying to spot a jelly, head to wide beaches and bays during a hot, still spell where they’ll likely be drifting in the shallows or washed up on the sand.
Places along the North Devon coast where they have often been seen include Combe Martin, Westward Ho! beach and Ilfracombe harbour.
The Marine Conservation Society Jellyfish survey can be found here.