Locals, fishermen and tourists in the Israelian town of Kiryat Yam have been reporting repeated sightings of what they believe to be a mermaid, the mythological creature most often describe as half female, half fish.
Shlomo Cohen is one of the first who reported such a sighting. Here’s what he had to say:
“I was with friends when suddenly we saw a woman laying on the sand in a weird way. At first I thought she was just another sunbather, but when we approached she jumped into the water and disappeared. We were all in shock because we saw she had a tail.”
This has been going on for months, and in an attempt to draw even more tourists and attention, the tourism board offered a one million dollars reward, which they believe will motivate people to try their luck.
This once again raises the question of repeated sightings of legendary creatures (Loch Ness, ring a bell?). What is it that makes people see pretty much the same thing. Is it the power of suggestion combined with some imagination? It could be an optical illusion, or an animal that’s already known, and people who want to see something else actually see something else. Well, one thing’s for sure – you really shouldn’t be spending what’s left of your vacation trying to spot a mermaid.
So, microorganisms and other humans aside, what do you think is the deadliest creature in animal kingdom? A snake, perhaps a lion or bear, a scorpion perhaps? Neah, not even close. The deadliest creature in the world is actually called a sea wasp.
Specialists use the term ‘deadliest’ when they refer to venomous creatures, that produce toxins that can be harmful or deadly to other animals or humans. When they make this ‘top’, they take into consideration two things:
– how many people can an ounce of the venom kill; and
– how long does it take to die from that venom.
For both of those things, the undisputed winner and (as far as we know) all time record holder is the sea wasp. Don’t let the name fool you, because the sea wasp is actually a jellyfish (we’ve been having a lot of those lately); on each tentacle, they have about 500.000 nematocytes. Nematocytes are basically needles that inject venom in everybody that happens to tocuh them.
They actively hunt their prey and they’re quite fast swimmers for jellyfish (5 mph), but are not aggressive and they try to avoid humans. What’s interesting is that turtles are not affected by their venom and actually eat these jellyfish (nature sure has its ways).
If (and we hope not) you would get stung by such a jellyfish, a bottle of vinegar and a first aid kit may very well save your life. Here’s how it goes: pour vinegar over the stung areas. The pain is almost unbearable and vinegar won’t help with that, but it will render the nematocysts that haven’t ‘fired’ harmless. If you attempt to remove the tentacles, it’s very possible to activate them and do even more damage. It’s quite safe to say that vinegar has saved dozens of lives, especially on the Australian beaches.