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Divers spot massive human-size jellyfish off English coast

By NEW YORK POST

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A giant, human-sized jellyfish lurking in the waters off the English coast.

(NEW YORK POST) — It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie.

A giant, human-sized jellyfish lurking in the waters off the English coast.

The creature — which is all too frighteningly real — was captured on camera recently by ocean cinematographer Dan Abbott during a dive near the town of Falmouth, Cornwall.

Abbott was swimming alongside wildlife biologist and presenter Lizzie Daly when the mammoth marine animal, identified as a barrel jellyfish, wriggled up beside her.

“It was enormous,” Daly told The Post. “When I caught it in the corner of my eye I had to do a double take. I said, ‘What is that?!’”

The encounter happened Saturday while Daly, a Swansea University fellow, was diving for her online campaign, “Wild Ocean Week” — which uses stories about Britain’s ocean wildlife to help inspire people and inform the public on what there is to see and do.

“You can really see epic things on the UK coastline,” Daly said. “You need to just grab a snorkel and get out there and enjoy it and embrace it.”

Barrel jellyfish are considered to be the largest species of jellyfish in British seas. It’s not very often that people catch the behemoths on camera, let alone see them in the wild.

“At first I couldn’t believe how big it was,” said Abbott, who spent the week traveling with Daly.

“I had no idea that jellyfish reached that sort of size,” he told The Post. “I’m used to filming sharks and other marine animals, but this was something else — and just literally right off the shore. It was absolutely breathtaking.”

Abbott added, “The feeling down there — being with something so incredibly big and graceful — was incredible. I will never forget it.”

Daly and Abbott estimate that the jellyfish was at least 5 feet long. They spent about 25 minutes swimming with it.

“We tried to stay out of its way and give it the space it needed,” Abbott recalled.

“We knew it wasn’t a threat,” said Daly, noting how the creatures have mild stings but aren’t known to attack humans.

“It truly was like a gentle giant,” she told The Post. “Such a beautiful encounter and very humbling to be alongside an animal like that.”

The largest known species of jellyfish in the world, according to wildlife experts, is the lion’s mane jellyfish. Their bell can grow up to 7 feet across, while their tentacles can reach up to 120 feet.

There have been lion’s mane sightings in the UK, but Abbott and Daly say it’s the barrel jelly that reigns supreme in British waters.

“They’re the largest you can get here in the UK,” Daly said, adding that “this is the biggest one” she’s seen yet.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few more like it in these waters.”

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