South Carolina officials warn beachgoers of man-of-wars

Portuguese Man O' War (Photo: Scott Sonnenberg)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina officials are warning beachgoers to watch their steps as Portuguese man-of-wars are washing onshore.

Local news sources report the venomous creatures turned up on Sullivans Island last month, prompting a warning by a local administrator.

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Mike Wagner, operations manager of Hilton Head Island Shore Beach Services, said the man-of-wars are probably coming ashore due to prevailing southeast winds.

Man-of-wars have also showed up on the north end of Myrtle Beach.

A man-of-war has long, venomous tentacles that are powerful enough to kill fish. Even if the creature is dead, it can still sting whatever it comes in contact with. Reggie Williams of Ripley’s Aquarium said while the sting is rarely deadly for humans, it is extremely painful and can last from a few minutes to a few weeks.