Keep away from any of these 13 deadly creatures when you next visit the beach...
1. Portuguese Man-of-War Jellyfish
Not a true jellyfish, the Portuguese Man-of-War is a siphonophore – a colony of organisms living together. Found mainly far out in the sea, it can be seen swarming or floating with thousands of organisms grouped together. Dermochelys coriacea, commonly called leatherback sea turtles, feed on these sea creatures. In fact, it is their favourite food. Sharks can be attracted to the turtles and mistake a human swimmer or surfer as a turtle. It’s safer on the beach if you see jellyfish in the water. Nematocystic toxin from the Portuguese man-of-war is considered to be ¾ as powerful as that of a cobra.
2. Marbled Cone Snail
The Marble Cone snail shell looks beautiful but the sea creature inside is deadlier than any other possible beach inhabitant listed here. One drop of venom could kill 20 or more people. Found in warm, tropical salt water, if you find one, don’t touch it. A sting immediately begins showing symptoms or the onset may be days later. The intense pain, numbness, swelling and tingling-feeling can result, in severe cases, muscle paralysis, respiration shut down and vision changes or death. It is fortunate that only 30 people have been killed by envenomation because there is still no anti-venom available.
3. Sea Snakes
Ocean-going trawlers are where most sea snake bites occur since the snake can be hauled in along with desirable catch. Most people think these sea creatures can’t bite but their short fangs, less than 4.5 mm can still pierce human skin. They are also capable of opening their mouths wide enough to consume a huge prey so even a small sea snake can grab a human thigh.
4. Common Cone Shells
The marine snail which inhabits cone shells are found in reefs all around the globe. Their victim-immobilizing venom cause their pray to become paralyzed. Over time, there have been 30 or more recorded human deaths from this venom. Fortunately, medical research has found this venom very helping in pharmacology research. However, there has yet been no antivenom developed for the cone snail stings.
The Dornorn, commonly called the “stonefish” is among the most venomous beach creatures on the planet. Named for its appearance, this fish’s coloration makes easy to mistake for a real stone when wading. Mainly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, it inhabits shallow waters in the tropics. The dorsal fins contain a row of toxic-filled spines. Those who have experienced the envenomation and lived describe it as the worst pain known to mankind. It can cause shock, paralysis and tissue death. Medical attention must be reached immediately. It can cause death to people within a couple of hours. It’s sole beneficial use is as an extremely tasty, okoze sushi, eaten in Japan.
6. Box Jelly Fish
Box jellyfish, known commonly as sea wasp, is probably the most dangerous beach creature listed here. The creature’s tentacles contain tiny nematocysts packed with powerful venom which stick to victims. Considered by most the most horrible creature to be stung by, victims have been known to pass out in pain yet continue screaming from the venom’s effects. In 1884, documentation confirms the first recorded human victim and it has since killed over 5,500 people. Who knows how many died before records were kept?
7. Blue-Ringed Octopus
A Blue-Ringed Octopus, athis golf ball sized sea creature has enough venom to kill as many as 26 people within minutes. Considered one of the most venomous animals in the world, no anti-venom is known. The bite may first seem harmless but then the potentially-fatal neurotoxins begin their work to cause numbness, muscle weakness, respiratory failure and death. Watch out around the Pacific beaches from Australia to Japan.
8. Fire Ants
Found typically building nests in sandy soil, fire ants live along the beach and other areas in large mounds. They normally feed on nearby plants and small insects. If disturbed by a person, the fire ants scurry to sting and protect their queen. A few stings are only annoying, unless a person is allergic, and they can be treated at home. But if a large swarm of fire ants sting, death can ensue.
9. Asian Hornets
This huge hornet can reach three-inches in length. Just 20-30 Asian hornets can invade and kill and entire hive of honeybees. While the sting is generally not lethal except for allergic reactions, there are four special aspects to the venom: a: Its sting contains more acetylcholine, an enzyme causing pain, than any other stinging insect. b: An enzyme in the venom dissolves living human tissue. c: At least eight different chemicals are contained in the venom which then produce another chemical to attract other hornets to a victim. d: As with all hornets, it has the ability to sting repeatedly.
10. Flower Urchin
Toxopneustes pileolus, the flower urchin must be handled with great care due to the long spines which are covered with flower-like venomous pinchers, called pedicillariae. The toxin can cause paralysis and it has been documented to have killed humans in Japan.
11. Great White Shark
This exceptional large shark of “Jaws” fame lives in coastal waters in all the world’s major oceans. Reaching up to five tons and 6 meters in length, this fish is a real predator and the only surviving species of the genus. While they don’t intentionally prey on humans, they tend to “test bite” anything which looks like it could be prey and leads to a number of human fatalities each year.
12. Saltwater Crocodiles
It’s pretty scary to realize that a deadly beach creature can kill an animal as large as a water buffalo. The deadly attack, known as the “death roll”, occurs when the prey is grasped firmly and the saltwater croc begins to roll in the water or on land. In one minute or less, a healthy, spirited one-ton horse can be killed. The crocodile has the ability to travel over land with amazing speed and in the water they are dolphin-quick.
Malaria is caused by the parasite genus Plasmodium, carried by the Anopheles species of mosquitoes. In certain climates and areas, mosquitoes are extremely common. But only certain destinations are home to malaria-carrying mosquitoes so make sure you check before you travel and stock up on anti-malaria medication if needs be.