All beach creatures, great and small, serve a purpose in the great scheme of things.
From time to time in coastal communities, jellyfish appear. It is a part of the natural cycle of life for the most part.
So, what is a jellyfish?
Surreal and beautiful sea creatures which elicit awe and sometimes fear, the jellyfish is an important food source for many higher form sea life such as the many majestic and endangered sea turtles which make their nests along the Emerald Coast and the Eastern Seaboard.
While Moon Jellies may be the most commonly identifiable, there are also many other types which can be found occasionally in our neck of the ocean.
Cabbage Head Jellyfish, Portuguese Man-O-Wars, Water Jellies, Sea Nettles and Pink Meanies are some others.
The best type of jellyfish to come across is the Water Jelly.
With no sting and occasional bioluminescence, these are the safest and most fun to find. Moon jellyfish and Cabbageheads are also mostly harmless and quite beautiful.
Also beautiful, but not harmless, are the Man-O-Wars, Nettles and, obviously, those Pink Meanies.
Like all coastal areas, sometimes jellyfish are brought on or close to shore by currents or winds. Therefore, it is important to have a cursory knowledge of what to do should you encounter them.
- First – It is always better to be safe than sorry. If you are unsure what kind of jelly you are looking at, don’t touch it. As with any creature, you are probably best giving it some personal space regardless of its danger – or lack thereof.
- Second – Alert the hotel staff or authorities if you spot anything unusual. We have experts in the area who specialize in identifying these issues and assessing any risk. We take our residents’ and visitors’ safety quite seriously.
- Third – While there are certain sunblocks and lotions you may use to repel jellyfish, and the chances of an encounter are not very high at all, if you are stung, know that most will be mild skin irritations. More severe reactions can occur however, from the more venomous species or personal allergic reactions. While you could try the Monica from Friends method of pain relief, we advise that you seek medical attention if you are at all concerned.
Enjoying the natural beauty of the Gulf Coast is the same as enjoying any other wild place in nature. It is always paramount to understand your surroundings from the beautiful to the treacherous in order to be best prepared to get the most from your visit.