Monster jellyfish and crab that 'could wipe out town' spotted on North Wales beach

One said the crab could 'wipe out a town'
-Credit: (Image: Scott Southey)

The sudden appearance of gigantic jellyfish and a spider crab at a seaside resort in Wales has left beachgoers vowing to never swim in the sea again. The enormous creatures, which looked like they were leading an alien invasion, startled day-trippers in the Barmouth area.

When holidaymaker Amy Carter posted her partner Scott Southey's photos on the I Love Barmouth Facebook page, they sparked a combination of fear and fascination.

"On my goodness!! Imagine swimming next to one that size. I'd freak! They are massive," wailed one woman on social media.

"Last time I go in the sea," declared another.

Amy said the giant jellyfish was 'amazing'
Enormous jellyfish -Credit:Scott Southey

While one person added: "Omg that is the stuff of my nightmares. That crab could wipe out a town."

But another remarked: "Seen loads on the beaches. It's amazing what nature will show us."

Amy told the Daily Star: "We are having a short holiday this week and was just having a stroll down Tal-y-bont beach...we always see small crabs and jellyfish around the rocks and on the beach but was shocked to see any this size. I've been coming to Barmouth and Tal-y-bont for nearly 50 years and it's the biggest I've ever seen so I had to put my hand next to it for scale. I find it amazing to actually see the true giants of the deep."

Another similar jellyfish was discovered on nearby Dyffryn beach by Ian Wilkins who also shared his photo on the Facebook group. He told the Star: "I was shocked to see this jellyfish and the huge size that it was. Fascinating creatures."

The barrel jellyfish can grow to the size of a beer barrel, hence its name
Enormous jellyfish off the coast of Gwynedd -Credit:Ian Wilkins

One person commented: "There were lots on the estuary yesterday! Had to get the binoculars out because I thought there was something big washed in..... they were giant barrel jellyfish. Quite harmless to people... they are HUGE this year."

Like seaside towns along much of the coast, Barmouth has its fair share of jellyfish and curious sea creatures.

Frankie Hobro, director of Anglesey Sea Zoo, said: "These are both common British species. The crab is a spiny spider crab which can grow to a foot in diameter (closely related to the King Crab) and they are common all around our coasts. We have numerous spider crabs in our aquarium exhibits, they live for many years.

"It looks as if this individual is dead, and that mussels and other marine life have taken advantage of the carcass as an anchor point - but it is equally likely that these animals were living happily on the shell of the crab while it was alive, as this is common.

"Like all crustaceans, spider crabs have to moult their outer shell to grow so it is common to find intact crab moults along our shoreline and these can be mistaken for dead crabs. In fact often in the early summer, when mass spawning and moulting occurs with thousands of spider crabs close to shore, we get beaches full of crab shells, which can appear at first glance to be a mass die-off but are in fact a positive sign of the crabs growing an breeding."

Frankie added: "The jellyfish shown is a barrel jellyfish, another common British species which is often found around our shores around spring and early summer - it does not tolerate warmer temperatures so is less common in summer an early Autumn when the seas are at their warmest.

"This is one of our most common jellyfish species and although they look formidable - and can grow to the size of a beer barrel, hence the name - their sting is in fact harmless to humans.

"They are the favourite food of leatherback turtles, our only native turtle species which is rarely sighted as it is usually found offshore, but they are present for over half the year, specifically to take advantage of the large numbers of large jellyfish like these which are found in the sea around the UK."