How Often Do Stingrays Sting

World-famous “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, known for seeking out and handling some of the most dangerous animals in existence, died on Sept. 5, 2006, in a shocking accident with a stingray the same type of Stingray that is prevalent all along the eastern coast and common sight to surf fisherman like myself.  How Often Do Stingrays Sting?

Every year, about 1,500-2,000 stingray injuries are reported in the US most of those occur in places like Florida or California, where there are warm, coastal waters contrary to its reputation, the stingray is a shy and even gentle creature that would rather swim away than strike.

Huntington Beach has the great distinction of being one of the most famous beaches noted for the number of stingray stings on record that prefer to hang out beneath the warm sands at high tide.

How often Do Stingrays Sting


Each year, approximately 1,500-2,000 stingray injury incidents are reported in the US. Contrary to its reputation, the stingray is a shy and even gentle creature that would pick flight over fight and would rather swim away than strike. It reserves its stinger for its predators like sharks and other large carnivorous fish.

It will only attack people when it feels directly threatened, often when it’s stepped on unintentionally by a person walking in the surf. Their venom causes intense pain, but the main risk of a stingray injury is the puncture wound. Hot water immersion and good wound care are central to managing stingray injuries.

Some types of stingrays have sharp spines in the tail. A stingray will use its hard, barbed tail to attack. The small spines contain venom and can penetrate a human’s skin. The stinger will usually leave a mark and cause swelling and pain that might last multiple days to weeks.

The sting from a Stingray can cause allergic reactions and life-threatening shock. Cousins to sharks and stingrays are boneless, wide-bodied flat fish. The body’s support system is made of cartilage, like the hard tissue that makes up your nose.

**Whatever extremity that contains the sting should be irrigated gently with salt water to remove contaminants like spine pieces, glandular tissue, and skin sheath. Whether you’re in the water or on land when the sting happens, do not remove the stingray spine unless it has penetrated the thorax, neck, or abdomen, it has fully severed an injured limb, or it is only weakly embedded. Soaking in warm water is not a verified early sting treatment, but some health care workers recommend it.

Stingrays are flat and can vary in size from a few inches up to 6.5 ft. in length and weigh up to 800 lbs. Their beautiful wing-like fins create ripples in the water as they swim. There are 11 species of stingrays found in the coastal waters of the US.

Their flat bodies and gray color allow them to camouflage themselves on the ocean bottom, where they move slowly so as to forage for their prey small fish and crustaceans like crabs and sea snails. Interestingly, a stingray can see its prey because its eyes are on the top side of its body, while its mouth and nostrils are underneath its body.



How Do Stingrays Sting?  

If threatened, a stingray will whip its tail at you, which can reach up over its head, stinging you with one or more of its spines piercing your skin and leaving a laceration or puncture wound in your skin as the sheath around each spine breaks apart & release venom …………………………………………….. Read more

What is the Stingray Stinging Position


When a stingray attacks, it needs to be facing its victim, because all it does is flip its long tail upward over its body so it strikes whatever is in front of it. The ray doesn’t have direct control over the sting mechanism, only over the tail. In most cases, when the sting enters a person’s body, the pressure causes the protective sheath to tear. When the sheath tears, the sharp, serrated edges of the spine sink in and venom flows into the wound.

A stingray’s venom is not necessarily fatal, but it hurts a lot. It’s composed of the enzymes 5-nucleotidase and phosphodiesterase and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin causes smooth muscle to severely contract, and it is this component that makes the venom so painful.

If the venom is introduced into an area like the ankle, it can usually be treated. Heat breaks down stingray venom and limits the amount of damage it can do. If not treated quickly enough, amputation might be necessary.

But if the venom enters the abdomen or chest cavity, the resulting tissue death can be fatal because of the major organs located in the vicinity. If the spike enters the heart, as was reported to be the case in Steve Irwin’s accident, the results are typically fatal.


How to Prevent Getting Stung by a Stingray?

The best way to prevent being stung by a stingray is to avoid stepping on one, when in the ocean by shuffling through the sand rather than lifting your feet and walking normally (commonly referred to as the “stingray shuffle”). This will warn a stingray of your approach, and it will likely swim away. .……………………………………….. Read more



JimGalloway Author/Editor



** WebMD- What to Know about Stingrays Stings


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