Ė any one of numerous rays having one or more large
sharp barbed dorsal spines on the whiplike tail and capable of
inflicting severe wounds.
Even the most macho of young men writhe in pain, teary-eyed and cursing
the denizen of the deep that wounded their foot or ankle or leg. One
misstep and yeoww!
Stingrays are found in calm shallow water where they feed on any bottom
living animals. Related to sharks, itís not their teeth that injure
thousands of humans each year. Itís the spine on their tail that inflicts
Surfers wading through the shore break are common victims. When you
step on a rayís body its tail whips forward in defense and the venomous
spine punctures or slices the victimís flesh. Within minutes the
excruciating pain begins.
Although seldom fatal, the wounds hurt. A lot!
Do the RAY SHUFFLE
The best protection is prevention. When you walk out through the surf,
especially on a sandy bottom, shuffle, donít step. Thatís not a guaranteed
solution, but pushing a ray out of the way and scaring it off is a lot
better than scaring it into defensive mode.
If you do get hit, your friends will be full of advice about pouring
various substances on it including beer, urine and meat tenderizer. These
are just old wives tales.
The only cure
The only effective way to treat a minor wound is by soaking it in water
as hot as you can stand it for about 1.5 to 2 hours. Simple, shallow
punctures and small cuts are painful but time will heal them. When youíve
finished the soaking, treat the injury with antiseptic and bandage if
If the wound is deep or bleeding a lot, or if strong pain lasts more
than a couple of hours, seek medical attention.
Rays are amazing creatures, but they can be a pain if youíre not