Somewhere between mild irritation and death

Washed-up on the shore at the Bay of Skaill is this beautiful jellyfish. I’m tempted to touch it but some jellyfish can still sting when they’re shrivelled and washed-up so I resist. The description of a jellyfish sting effect is “From no effect to extreme pain to death.” That strikes me as quite a broad range with which to make an assessment of the risk. Six years ago I went to Australia for half a day’s work, all expenses paid, and decided to stay for three weeks and back-pack around a bit. There I saw The Stinging Tree and warning signs about it. I Googled it and found that it “Causes an effect somewhere between mild irritation and death.” I was so tempted to touch it, after all, it looks so innocuous, but I resisted. It carries a neurotoxin within small hairs which continues to be released under your skin for the rest of your painful life, assuming you’re lucky enough to survive it.

Fancy touching this jellyfish? It’s probably only a Moon Jellyfish and relatively harmless. After you.

Jellyfish - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

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