Summer Stingray Safety
Posted by E.G.D. on August 3, 2011
Hi, again, and welcome to Wednesday Wildlife! Jody found some interesting stingray safety info in The Sanibel Shell Guide (which she reviewed, earlier), and this led her to prompt me to look up some more modern ray safety advice. The results are as follows:
The Gasparilla Gazette has an excellent page that uses the exact same words as The Sanibel Shell Guide: “the sting ray shuffle.” Pretty much every beach where rays hang out in the shallows, it is important to shuffle your feet in the sand so that you don’t step on the poor things and scare them into causing you grievous bodily harm (which is almost invariably extremely painful but extremely temporary). This particular article also has some very sound advice about what to do if you are stung by a ray, and what symptoms a stung person should expect.
If you are planning to head to Malaysia for a fun-filled beach vacation, I very highly recommend that you check out this site. It details safety protocol for dealing with a remarkably wide range of creatures on which you never, ever want to step. The info for stingrays is about halfway down the page. They not only recommend that you not step on rays, but that you not swim too close or directly above them (apparently swimming above them makes them think of you as more of a threat).
Ehow.com has a very good article with a couple other safety pointers for avoiding stingray injuries, including a recommendation that you not swim too close to the ocean floor (this is particularly geared toward divers) and a recommendation that you not swim near jetties or piers where rays are known to gather.
Finally, itsnature.org has a great and detailed page that lists stingray attributes as well as stingray safety procedures. From this, I learned that a stingray’s sting can be poisonous even after the stingray has died. Yipes! That’s one more reason to pay attention to where you step on a beach where stingrays live.
There you have it! Play it safe this summer and remember to shuffle- E.G.D.