Beaches on Australia's west coast have been forced to close after extreme weather conditions have pushed thousands of bluebottles ashore.
Most of your reading this likely live in a part of the world where deadly and dangerous animals lurking nearby isn't an everyday hassle. For those of you who live in or have visited Australia, you know that not to be the case. The vast country is full of creepy crawlies and potentially deadly creatures but if you live there, you just sort of get used to it.
That being said, there are some phenomena that even sends the most hardened of Aussies running for the hills. Something like that is currently going on along the nation's west coast. An abundance of a specific creature washing up on Australia's shores has forced a number of its beautiful beaches to be closed to the public.
That might not seem like a big deal to most due to the time of year, but remember it is currently the height of summer Down Under. The creatures in question are called bluebottles. Not the insects that you commonly find in the northern hemisphere, but a sea creature that is sort of related to the jellyfish. These sea-dwelling bluebottles have a painful sting, hence the closure of some beaches on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
According to Surf Life Saving Queensland, around 13,000 people have been stung by bluebottles in the last week alone. That's more than three times as many as during the same period last year. While bluebottle stings are not deadly and can be treated with hot or ice water, 2600 of those stung have needed medical treatment. Pretty serious stuff, but why is it happening?
While this amount of bluebottles washing up on the shore is unprecedented, BBC news reports that the "invasion" is not necessarily abnormal. Dr. Lisa-Ann Gershwin, an expert from Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services, has pointed the finger of blame at adverse weather conditions. Apparently, a combination of strong winds and extreme heat will have brought the bluebottles, and possibly other marine species, closer to the shore.