Boy stung by deadly tropical creature on beach in Cornwall

Ruth Doherty
Boy stung by deadly creature on beach in Cornwall
Boy stung by deadly creature on beach in Cornwall


A boy was lucky to escape with minor injuries after being stung by a deadly Portuguese man o' war during a trip to the beach in Cornwall.

Dawud Lee was playing near the surf at Perranuthnoe when he spotted the creature.

His mum Yasmin Lee told This Is Cornwall: "My children were playing by the waves and noticed this thing in the water.

"They picked it up with a stick and it fell on my son's foot. He said it was like knives stabbing into him."

After managing to hop to a nearby café, Dawud plunged his foot in water before a paramedic arrived.

Yasmin added: "It did swell up a little and there were some welts but thank God it wasn't any more serious."

Yasmin put the creature in a jar and took it with them to West Cornwall Hospital, in case doctors needed to identify it.

Portuguese man o' war is a jellyfish-like marine cnidarian. Despite its outward appearance, the man o' war is not a jellyfish but a siphonophore, which differs from jellyfish in that it is not actually a single creature, but a colonial organism made up of many minute individuals called zooids.

Its tentacles are covered in tiny barbs that break off in the victim's skin to deliver its venom. They can stretch up to 50 metres in length with a sting that can paralyse and kill small fish, as well as having the ability to cause anaphylactic shock in humans - a condition that can be fatal.

In fact, at the beginning of this year, a grandfather was killed by a swarm of Portuguese man o' wars in South Africa.

Usually found in tropical waters, the man o' war is responsible for around 10,000 stings a year in Australia, but experts have warned that global warming could see them moving into British waters.

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