Powerful stingers are washing up in Port Aransas. Here’s what to do if you find one.

Visitors have been noticing Portuguese Man-of Wars washing ashore Port Aransas.

*Photo taken of last summer in Port Aransas by local Neesy Tompkins.

Neesy Tompkins

Beachgoers have been seeing some painful stingers, known as the Portuguese man-of-war, along the shores of Port Aransas.

Kyle Guest from Katy told MySA.com he and his wife saw several in the sand while walking along the Texas beach last weekend. He said one family even sat next to them to warn others about stepping in them because not everyone knows it’s good practice to stay away from these creatures.

“They are usually just right at the waterline but with the tide being so high this weekend, I’m sure there were more than we usually see on a given day,” Guest said.

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Scott Cross, director for parks and coastal services in Nueces County, said it’s always a hit-and-miss on whether the Portuguese man-of-war shows up in coastal beaches during this time of year.

However, if you see one, Cross shared a few tips you should follow.

  • Give them a wide berth when in the water: While floating in the water their tentacles can extend a good way from their main body part, which is the blueish balloon-looking thing most people see.
  • Still avoid if seen on the beach: When they wash up, their tentacles start to dry and break down pretty quickly but can still deliver a sting.
  • The poison can not kill you: They are covered in venom-filled nematocysts used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. 
  • Grab your first aid kit: Use a combination of regular old vinegar and meat tenderizer. Mix into a paste and apply to the affected area. You are trying to neutralize the acidic compound of the poison in the sting. 

You can apply the same advice to jellyfish, Cross said. He added to always check warning flags and colors for alerts of current conditions and the possibility of dangerous sea life.

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