POTENTIALLY deadly jellyfish-like creatures have been found washed ashore off the west coast of Scotland.

Portuguese man o’ wars have been spotted on beaches on Tiree, Barra, Coll, and Harris, with locals being warned to stay away, as they can still sting even after death.

Amy Pilsbury, Citizen Science Lead at the Marine Conservation Society, said sightings this far north were rare.

She said: “There’s eight different species – including two jellyfish-like species, one being the Portuguese man o’ war – that we ask people to report.

“We’ve had, over the past month, a couple of sightings on the west coast of Scotland, which is quite unusual because they are not normally that far north.”

She added that people should be aware of the dangers: “If you see them washed up, definitely do not touch them,” she said. “They can be very harmful to humans.

“Even if they are beached or don’t look alive anymore, they can still sting quite badly.

“If you do get stung, the best thing to do is try to scrape off the tentacles with something – a bank card or a stick or whatever is available.

“Once the tentacles are off, soak the area in warm water.”

The National: Portuguese Man o' War tentacles can be up to 30 foot long Portuguese Man o' War tentacles can be up to 30 foot long

Hayley Douglas, a ranger on Tiree, had received two reports of man o’ wars washing up on the same beach on the island.

She said: “I haven’t seen any washing ashore on Tiree before, but I have been told of incidents in the past.

“There’s been a lot of jellyfish coming ashore over the past week because of the westerly winds we’ve been having.

“It’s just something that people have to be aware of during the summer months.”

She encouraged people to keep their shoes on while walking on the beach and to keep a close eye on dogs and small children.

“There’s a very small chance that a dog or someone is going to get stung, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

“I go swimming and I would just urge people to keep their neoprene wetsuits on and keep covered up.”

While often called jellyfish, Portuguese man o’ wars are actually hydrozoans – a colony of individual polyps that group together to create one jellyfish-like species.

Their stinging tentacles can be up to 30-foot long and cause severe pain if they come into contact with bare skin.

While for most people the pain will subside after a few hours, others can have an allergic reaction, which may limit the person’s ability to breathe, and in rare cases results in death.

The creatures have also been spotted along the west coast of Ireland in recent weeks.

Sightings should be reported to the Marine Conservation Society here.