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VIDEO: TikToker picks up and licks “jellyfish”, not realizing it’s a deadly Portuguese caravel

Welcome back to why is this Internet user playing with a deadly animal? A few months ago we got to see a TikToker pick up one of the most venomous animals known to science, a dangerous blue-ringed octopus, a cute little creature that contains enough venom to kill 26 adult humans in minutes.

This time a popular TikTok user, alexa_reed2, who had almost 1 million followers (before deleting his account), posted a video showing him pushing, lifting and even licking a brightly colored blue “jellyfish” lying on the beach.

“Look guys, a jellyfish is still here,” I’m going to pick it up. This is what it looks like: yes, it’s a jellyfish, look how big it is. it’s still moving! I’m going to lick it.”


Alexa did all this without the knowledge that her new gelatinous friend is actually a Portuguese Caravel ( Physalia physalis ), one of the most dangerous creatures in the ocean. Portuguese dogfish are siphonophores, meaning that they are not a single animal but a colony of organisms working together, although closely related to jellyfish. They are known for their intensely painful stings that leave welts on unfortunate swimmers who are caught by their tentacles, frequent Australia’s beaches and are responsible for up to 10,000 human stings per year. There have even been reports of Bluebottle stings resulting in death, particularly in vulnerable people.

Surfers and ocean swimmers are well aware of the danger posed by these creatures, but it seems that many people, including this TikToker, can’t seem to identify them when they are on the beach .

Fortunately, Alexa was apparently unharmed.

But I think we can learn several things from this situation, firstly, if you travel abroad and wish to enjoy wildlife, try to learn about it and the potential dangers you may encounter so you can stay away and secondly, and most importantly, never pick up (and please don’t lick) any wild animals you may encounter.

What are Portuguese caravels?

Physalia physalis, commonly known as the Portuguese Caravel, is a species of pelagic hydrozoan that floats on the surface of the ocean and moves driven by winds and currents. Despite its harmless and attractive appearance, the Portuguese man-of-war is highly poisonous and can be deadly to humans.

The Portuguese Caravel is actually a colony of organisms called zooids that work together to survive. These zooids specialize in different functions, such as flotation, feeding and defense. The float or pneumatophore is the most distinctive part of the Portuguese caravel, as it resembles a ship’s sail. It can grow up to one meter long and fills with gas to keep the colony afloat.

Despite being called “Portuguese dogfish”, this species is not a true jellyfish, although it is often confused with them. The Portuguese Caravel is found in warm waters around the world, including the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. They are known for their extremely painful stings and can be fatal to humans in rare cases.

It is important to use caution when near a Portuguese Carabela, as its tentacles can detach and float in the water even after the colony has died or disintegrated. If a sting occurs, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

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Acerca de Alejandra Galaz

Divulgadora de la Ciencia y productora de videos. Me apasiona conocer y compartir los últimos avances en la ciencia y tecnología en especial temas de medicina. Soy médico cirujano de profesión, pero mi verdadera vocación es curar y crear contenido educativo.

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