Man licks ‘slimy’ beach creature unaware that it can kill humans – ‘the floating terror’

TikTok user picks up 'slimy' sea creature on beach

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Alexa Reed (@Alexa_reed2) shared his story on TikTok, not realising that he was in the presence of a creature referred to as the “floating terror”. The video shows him poking and prodding what he thinks is a jellyfish, before deciding to give it a lick.

The clip starts with Mr Reed showing the sea animal lying still in the sand, featuring a balloon-like appearance complete with blue colouring and tentacles.

As he pokes it, he says: “Look guys, a jellyfish is still here.

“Oh my gosh, it’s so cold and so slimy. I’m gonna pick it up.”

At this point, he uses two fingers to lift what he thinks is a jellyfish up.

He holds it up the camera, adding: “This is how it looks like. Yes, it’s a jellyfish, look how big it is.”

Mr Reed then turns the camera to show himself with the creature in front of his face, before declaring what he will do next.

He says: “And it’s still moving, oh my God, I’m going to lick it.”

Little did Mr Reed know, the thing he was holding was in fact a Portuguese Man O’ War, also known as the “floating terror”.

Although the likelihood of a person dying from the venom it uses to paralyse and kill prey is incredibly low, its sting is so powerful that it can cause shocking welts on exposed skin – leaving victims in pain for days afterwards.

One TikTok user named @Mndiaye_97, who shares informative clips about nature, replied to the post saying: “This is why women live longer than men, s*** like this.

“That is not a jellyfish, it’s a Portuguese Man O’ War, also known as the bluebottle, also known as the floating terror.

“It’s a species of siphonophore armed with millions of explosive stinging cells powerful enough to make Nemo an orphan and occasionally turn a person into past tense.

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“This Man O’ War is responsible for up to 10,000 stings a year in Australia alone and the venom can cause excruciating pain for up to three days, leaving a nasty, whip-like welt as a souvenir.”

The TikToker then went on to explain the very lucky escape Mr Reed had from the creature.

“But honestly, you’re lucky if that’s all you get because the venom can trigger an allergic-like reaction that results in throat-swelling, heart issues and difficulty breathing, as you suffocate, possibly to death.

“And fun fact, not only can they write your obituary days, even tentacles that have been separated from its body contain enough venom to incapacitate you.

“Getting stung by a Man O’ War is nowhere near a death sentence. Most of the time if treated quickly, it’s very survivable.

“But even though being put in a coffin by one is rare, the agonising pain that comes with it might make you wish it wasn’t.”

Additional reporting by Luke Matthews.

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