Posted 11 September 2015 by Andrew Gardner
Now the peak seaside season's winding down, and I'm guessing that any of you planning to hit the water over the next few months will be wearing a wetsuit, can I tell you about the rising numbers of jellyfish? Don't be alarmed - pretty much anywhere you swim off the British coast you have a slim chance of meeting one, so we'd always say keep a look out, especially if children are in the sea. Generally if you're unlucky enough to get up close and personal with one you'll just get a sting, though little'uns will feel it more. And if you watch them from a distance, or preferably from a boat, they're really pretty and ethereal (the jellyfish I mean, not the little'uns - there's nothing ethereal about those!).
But what's baffling everyone at the moment is why numbers have increased so much lately. Last year was thought to be a bumper one for jellyfish around the Sussex coast, as was the year before, but in 2015 even more have been spotted. No one knows whether this is pure chance or something to do with climate change, although the Marine Conservation Society is studying it. Meanwhile, they suggest anyone who spots jellyfish could record the sighting with the MCS to help them further the research - and look but don't touch. Click here to view our selection of Sussex coast cottages.
I'd like to add that here in Sussex we also have some delightful wild creatures, as well as some wonderful people looking out for them. A dedicated East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service volunteer in Uckfield this summer turned her garden shed into a maternity unit for hedgehogs. She explained that hedgehogs that are stressed or disturbed after giving birth are likely to kill their young, so if a rescued hedgehog happens to be pregnant the WRAS needs to keep her somewhere very quiet and safe. Several litters were born there this summer and there are some delightfully cute pictures on the website.
Finally for now, if you Google 'hen rescue Sussex' you'll find Sussex people are passionate about rescuing battery hens and giving them a better life - but my prize has to go to the wonderfully named Hen Heaven in... you guessed... Henfield!