Beachgoers are being urged to look out on coastal walks as creatures with a "nasty sting" have been spotted on Sussex beaches. 

The potentially dangerous animals, known as Portuguese Man O'War, are related to jellyfish. 

Sussex Wildlife Trust has previously said: "Over the last few years, we seem to be seeing an increasing number of Portuguese Man O’ War washed up on Sussex beaches.

"Usually more common at the western end of the Channel, this species have been spotted washed up on various Sussex beaches after the recent storms."

Although related to jellyfish, they are actually a colonial animal called a siphonophore.

"These creatures are beautifully coloured but are dangerous – do not attempt to handle them as they have a nasty sting which can be fatal in rare cases," said the spokesman.

Vikki Bianco, from Brighton, spotted two on Rottingdean beach earlier this week.

Writing on Facebook, she said: "I rang the seafront office and reported it to the Wildlife Trust, as apparently they monitor where they are appearing in the UK.

"But it has made me think I might not swim for a couple of days, in the hopes they disappear back out to sea again. 

"The tentacles can still sting 5 days after they have died, so don't touch them."

The creatures have been spotted as far east as Hastings, where the council has issued a warning to residents visiting the beaches.

A spokeswoman for Hastings Borough Council said: "We have received reports of Portuguese man o' war washing up on local beaches.

"They are deep blue or purple in colour and have an air filled sac which floats on the surface of the water."

The council reiterated the warning not to touch the creatures, and referred people to the NHS advice

In the event of being stung, advice is to:

  • rinse the affected area with seawater (not fresh water)
  • remove any spines from the skin using tweezers or the edge of a bank card
  • soak the area in very warm water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 minutes – use hot flannels or towels if you cannot soak it
  • take painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen