Australian beachgoers have been warned to take care along the New South Wales coastline after thousands of “bluebottles” have been driven onshore by severe storms.
But when Aussies say “bluebottle,” they don’t mean big fat flies that are at worst slightly annoying. They mean stinging jellyfish that can cause crippling pain if you’re unlucky enough to step on one.
Nurse Sarah Hunstead told Australian TV’s The Morning Show that it’s easy to end up being stung multiple times because some stings aren’t felt right away.
She said: “Symptoms could include severe back pain and headache, shooting pains to your muscles, severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and eventually breathing problems as well.”
The dangerous creatures have been spotted in large groups on Sydney beaches. One local, Isaac Irvin, snapped a photo of the plague of bluebottles on Bondi Beach:
“Australia! If the waves don’t get you, the bluebottles will,” he wrote on Twitter along with a photo of the jellyfish in a North Bondi beach pool.
Sky News host Laura Jayes retweeted the image, describing it as a “pool of nightmares”.
It’s the sheer number of them that has worried hard-to-shock Aussies.
“I’ve never seen more than three in any square metre of sand and usually one every 30 metres or so. And that’s once or twice during the summer. My goodness this is astonishing,” one person commented
Professor Kerryn Phelps expressed her surprise at the sheer size of the jellyfish invasion.
“Wow. The bluebottles have picked February to invade the east coast beaches big time,” she wrote.
Another local posted her own photo of the bluebottles, saying they extended “the full length of Narrawallee beach on the NSW south coast.”