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”.
“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.”