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Dangerous Animal Of The Week: Australian Box Jellyfish

This is a recurring PGP series. Catch up with all installments of Dangerous Animal Of The Week by visiting the archive.

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Every Thursday, we take a look at one of the most dangerous animals in the world. Avoid this gnarly creature, and stay safe out there in the wild.

Under the sea
Under the sea
Darling it’s better
Down where it’s wetter
Take it from me

-Sebastian, The Little Mermaid (1989)

I’m a big fan of the ocean. Water is my jam. Beaches are my safe space. That being said, there is a lot of dangerous shit in the deep blue sea. One such example of said dangerous shit? The Australian box jellyfish.

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You might be thinking: It’s just a jellyfish. Hire a couple Russian prostitutes to pee on you and move on with your life. Not so fast, my friend. The Australian box jelly is no ordinary underwater paste to be smeared across bread and devoured with crunchy peanut butter.

Regular ass jellyfish don’t swim; they just drift through life like lumps of crap. The Australian box jellyfish, however, zooms around through the water at up to four knots. I’m not a captain in the European navy, so I don’t know how a “knot” compares to an American mile per hour, but grooving along with any speed at all is better than being a total loser and floating aimlessly.

Regular ass jellyfish also can’t see, but the Aussie box jelly has eyes grouped in clusters of six on all four sides of its hot cubed bod. Each cluster has a pair of eyes with all the necessary parts, like a lens, retina, iris and cornea, so best believe these dudes are seeing things.

What is so scary about a damn Australian box jellyfish?

For starters, it is the most venomous marine animal known to man and can fucking murder you. These bastards have fifteen tentacles on each of their corners, and each tentacle has about 5,000 stinging cells called nematocysts which are triggered not by touch, but activated by the presence of a chemical on the outermost layer of a fish, shellfish or human.

Their venom causes human cells to become porous enough to allow potassium leakage (doesn’t sound good), causing hyperkalemia (definitely bad), which can lead to cardiovascular collapse (oh shit) and death within two to five minutes (so you’re saying there’s a chance). Oh, and the pain from a sting is so brutal that you can immediately go into shock, which means you just fucking drown if you’re swimming alone. The odds of you making it back to shore on your own while suffering from stings from one of these bad boys are extremely low.

On top of all that, the Australian Box jellyfish is known as “the suckerpunch of the sea,” because they are light blue in color but basically transparent, making them extremely difficult to spot in the water, which has also been known to be blue in hue. So you might not see them, but the Australian box jellyfish sees you with like forty fucking eyes.

Fuck. That.

What should I do if I encounter an Australian box jellyfish?

Gently pet the tentacles in order to calm the creature so that it will refrain from stinging you. I’m kidding. Definitely don’t touch it, you fool. Swim. Swim for your fucking life. Do your best Michael Phelps impression and get the hell out of there.

I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.

Check back in every Thursday for another Dangerous Animal Of The Week.

Check out last week’s dangerous animal, the Cape buffalo

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Ross Bolen

Ross Bolen is a New York Times Bestselling author, co-host of the Oysters, Clams & Cockles podcast, co-host of the Back Door Cover podcast, perpetually disappointed Rockets fan, Astros fan, and Texans fan who attended the 2017 Masters.

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