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When jellyfish beach themselves, are they still able to sting and for how long?

John Peaspanen

A Portuguese man-of-war in Surf City. File photo.

According to the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, beachgoers would be wise to watch their step when it comes to beached jellyfish.

Aquarium Curator Hap Fatzinger said, “The tentacles of a jellyfish are covered in small stinging cells called nematocysts that have ‘hair-like’ triggers that fire when stimulated. I don’t know exactly how long until the degradation of the animal breaks down the ability of these cells to fire, but best word of advice is to steer clear of any dangerous jellyfish on the beach.”

Fatzinger added that a jellyfish on the beach will dry out and break down quickly, as they are mostly water. However, any jellyfish you see has the potential to sting if touched.


What is the ball-shaped jellyfish that I see so often around here?

Are box jellyfish found in these waters? Are they more dangerous than other kinds we see?

Should I get someone to urinate on me if I have a jellyfish sting?

User-contributed question by:
Jody Lewe

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