Officials Warn of Portuguese Man o' Wars Washing Up on Beaches

Long Beach Island, NJ--Keep a look out if you plan to head to the beach this holiday weekend because there's something new to our area washing up on the beach.

The Atlantic waters rush up on LBI greeting vacationers getting an early start to their Independence Day weekend, but they do so guarded with local officials warning beachgoers of the dangerous Portuguese Man o' War. The first reported sighting was found on Harvey Cedars Beach on June 21st.

Read More: Man O' War Washes Up on Beach

Authorities say more of the water surface floating creatures have been spotted up and down LBI beaches in recent weeks.

"A bunch of Portuguese Man o' War washed up on the beach last Saturday. I think it was due to a storm, and they just collected them and the life guards took them away," said witness Kathleen Osborne.

Man o' Wars look like jelly fish. Experts say they have extremely long tenticles that can wrap around a person and sting them several times, causing itching, swelling, nausea, and in rare cases death.

"It was a beautiful, some reds, purples, blues, and obviously a 2-year-old would be attracted to it," said Tara Todd.

That's how Tara Todd says her son was when he got stung by a Man o' War a few years ago. She can't forget the fear.

"He picked something up. We were probably 10 feet from them and he got very, very upset, crying and his hand started to get very red," she told FOX 29. "It was very frightening not knowing what was going on and why he was behaving that way and so upset."

Experts say you should avoid contact if you see one and forget about handling them, whether dead or alive.

Todd says her family learned that the hard way.

"My boys surf and they're pretty smart out there. I like to think that we've taught them to be aware of what's around them."