Australia is known for its unique wildlife, and although most of it is adorable, be sure to keep an eye out for some of the more dangerous creatures… jellyfish included.
What exactly is a stinger?
A stinger is a species of jellyfish that is found along many of the tropical coastlines of Australia, they are dangerous and potentially lethal. Like most things in Australia, the word stinger is a nickname/abbreviation for the infamous jellyfish. Living up to its name, the jellyfish in Australia can pack quite a punch and are known to leave many oblivious swimmers in a lot of pain.
When to keep an eye out for stingers
Stingers are found in the oceans of tropical Australia all year round, however, between the months of October to May are when they are at their highest numbers. Stingers do not discriminate, although there are some specifics that they prefer. They are known to wreak havoc in calm water and sandy beaches with low waves, with warmer temperatures and summertime attract stingers in their thousands, so be aware!
Different types of stingers
There are two main species of stingers, they are the Irukandji Jellyfish and the Box Jellyfish. The Irukandji jellyfish are small; however, they can be life-threatening to those who have been stung. They are generally small, and can often be less than 1cm wide, making them difficult to see in the water. The sting you receive from the Irukandji jellyfish is described as mild, often compared to a mosquito bite, but do not be deceived, as they can be deadly.
Box jellyfish are the less common species of stingers, quite the opposite of the Irukandji, Box jellyfish can be up to 30cm and have many tentacles. They are also transparent and often blend into the water. The sting of a box jellyfish is compared to that of an iron or an oil burn. They are severely painful and can be life-threatening if not treated correctly.
How to prevent being a victim of a stinger
The ocean is the stingers home, so it is impossible to avoid them all together. However, there are several ways to minimise your chances of being stung by one. Firstly, always be sure to swim at lifeguard patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags and take note of any signs and warnings that may be in the area. Be sure to wear a stinger suit if advised to by lifeguards or boat crew. If you happen to get stung by a stinger, seek medical help as immediately and do not touch the wound under any circumstances!
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