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Stingray bite pictures: First Aid, Symptoms & Infection Signs

Mild-Mannered Stingrays Can Inflict A World Of Hurt : Shots

Mild-Mannered Stingrays Can Inflict A World Of Hurt

About 16,000 stingrays live along the shoreline of Seal Beach in Southern California, inflicting around 400 injuries each year.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

About 16,000 stingrays live along the shoreline of Seal Beach in Southern California, inflicting around 400 injuries each year.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Want to get away? Thinking about a place with warm water and soft sand? Sounds nice. But think twice before you wade into that inviting surf. Chances are there are stingrays in the area.

Every year, these timid, shellfish-eating cousins of the shark inflict excruciating injuries on thousands of swimmers and surfers from the Bahamas to Bahrain to both coasts of the United States.

… a much deeper, darker migrainous-type pain — almost like you put your foot or ankle in a vise and twisted it.

Eric Stern, physician stung by a stingray

One of last year’s victims was Eric Stern, a doctor from Washington, D.C., who was giving a surfing lesson to his sister in August near Santa Monica, Calif. He remembers casually hopping off his board into waist-deep water.

“The moment my foot hit sandy bottom, just, strike! Bam!” he says. “I mean, immediate … knifelike pain.”

Stern wondered at first whether a shark had bitten him. “The bleeding was so pronounced from what appeared to be a 2-inch to 3-inch gash,” he says. “I still wasn’t thinking stingray.”

But when lifeguards arrived, they told him he was the third stingray victim they’d seen that day. And by that time, Stern says, the injury no longer felt like a bite or a cut.

“The pain had transitioned already to a much deeper, darker migrainous-type pain,” he says. “Almost like you put your foot or ankle in a vise and twisted it.”

The round stingray is native to the eastern Pacific coast and is notorious for injuring swimmers and surfers.


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A Painful Toxin

In a marine lab at California State University, Long Beach — an hour’s drive south of where Stern got injured — marine biologist Chris Lowe says the intense pain of a stingray injury comes from a powerful toxin secreted by the animal’s tail.

“That toxin causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow,” Lowe says. “It causes this intense pain sensation — a throbbing, kind of aching pain sensation. And it literally takes hours to go away.”

But if you’ve ever been unlucky enough to feel that pain, don’t blame the stingray, Lowe says. They only sting in self-defense. And the round stingray that probably got Stern is especially shy, he adds.

In Lowe’s lab, a round stingray hides at the sandy bottom of a tank. At first, it’s hard to tell that there is a stingray there because, as Lowe says, “the name of their game is disappearing.”

But eventually, you can make out a faint outline in the sand about the size of a dinner plate, along with two eyes and two nostrillike openings called spiracles.

As he scoops the stingray into a net, Lowe explains how Eric Stern’s foot got filleted. He points to the inch-long spine that’s almost concealed in a sheath at the end of the animal’s whiplike tail.

“When you … harass this ray or accidentally step on it,” Lowe says, “it has the ability to quickly flick its tail up. And that barb comes up like an arrow point.”

Larger stingrays, like the Australian bull ray, can have spines “the size of a steak knife,” Lowe says. It was one of these large rays on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef that killed Steve Irwin, host of The Crocodile Hunter TV show, in 2006.

“Believe it or not, Steve Irwin was not the only fatality,” Lowe says. “About every five or six years or so, somebody is killed by one of those large stingrays.”

Although there are no good statistics on stingray injuries, what data there are suggest that thousands of people are stung each year worldwide and that the number may be rising.

In places like California, stingray populations appear to be growing because there are fewer predators, like sharks, seals and sea lions, Lowe says. Also, more and more people around the world are spending time at the beach.

“I get calls from resort owners on the East Coast — [and] even in the Middle East, where they have really high-end resorts,” Lowe says. “They have stingrays in those areas. They have had injuries, and they call us up asking us what should they do.”

Stingray Central

People have been asking that question for a long time at Seal Beach, which is just a couple of miles from Lowe’s lab. Several years ago, a census of rays on this beach found that about 16,000 rays live along just a few hundred yards of shoreline. And, not surprisingly, the area reports more stingray injuries than any place on Earth — about 400 a year.

Michael Pless, an instructor at M&M Surfing School in Seal Beach, says he’s been stung 21 times in the past 30 years.

Jon Hamilton/NPR

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Jon Hamilton/NPR

Take a stroll down Seal Beach, and there’s a good chance you’ll run into Michael Pless, an instructor at M&M Surfing School. “I’m known as the king of stingray stings,” he says.

In the past 30 years, Pless says, he’s been stung 21 times.

He says he gives all of his surfing students a lesson in how to do the “stingray shuffle,” which involves shuffling your feet along the sand so the stingrays know you’re coming and you don’t step on one.

Signs in parking lots around Seal Beach warn of stingrays, and lifeguards also try to help beachgoers avoid a painful sting. But many still learn about the dangers the hard way, says Nick Bolin, a marine safety officer.

“Usually our tower guards will spot them seconds after they’ve been stung because they’ll come hopping out of the water,” he says. “We’ll take them back to our lifeguard headquarters, where we have a dedicated lifeguard assigned to the stingray shift, and we soak the foot in hot water until the pain subsides enough that they can go on their own way.”

When the beach is busy and the tide is low, there may be dozens of victims, Bolin says. “We’ve had days where our hot water heater actually can’t even keep up with the [number of] stings.”

Soaking a sting in very hot water is critical, as the heat neutralizes the stingray toxin.

“The moment you take your foot out of the hot water, the pain just shoots back up within five to 10 seconds,” says Stern, the doctor who got stung while surfing near Santa Monica. “It’s really quite remarkable.”

Unfortunately for Stern, several hours of hot water treatment wasn’t the end of his stingray adventure. The gash on his foot had to be sewn up at a local emergency room. And once the wound healed, Stern realized he had another problem.

“I began to notice that I didn’t have any sensation in the dorsum — the top — of my foot around the base of my fourth and fifth toes,” he says.

The sting had caused nerve damage, and Stern eventually needed surgery. But he’s better now and ready to get back in the California surf. “This time,” he says, “I think I’m going to stay on my board until I’m out in deep waters.

emDOCs.net – Emergency Medicine EducationTOXCard: Stingray Injuries – emDOCs.net

Author: Kathleen Yip MD (Harbor-UCLA Medical Center) // Edited by: David Tanen MD (Harbor-UCLA Medical Center), Cynthia Santos (Rutgers New Jersey Medical School), Alex Koyfman, MD (@EMHighAK, UTSW / Parkland Memorial Hospital), and Brit Long, MD (@long_brit)

Case Presentation

A 26-year-old male walks with an antalgic gait into the emergency department. He reports running in the shallow waters at the beach nearby about an hour ago when he felt sudden pain in the back of his right ankle. When he looked down, he saw a stingray swimming away and a thin trail of blood from his ankle dissipating into the water. The bleeding has stopped, but now he reports excruciating pain, even after taking a Tylenol his friend gave him.


  • What is the management of stingray injuries?
  • What are potential complications?
  • What prevention strategies are there to avoid future injuries?


  • Stingrays live in temperate and tropical oceans. They are often found buried in the sand and are docile creatures that would rather swim to escape than attack.1
  • Most injuries are due to unintentional contact (stepping on the wings) or from unraveling fishing equipment.2
  • The bilaterally serrated spine is located dorsally on the tail; it is contained within the integumentary sheath, which holds the venom.1
  • The injury occurs in two steps: 1) mechanical injury from the sharp and jagged spine, causing a laceration or puncture wound, and 2) envenomation, resulting in systemic symptoms.3
  • There are approximately 2000 reported stingray injuries per year in the United States.4

Clinical signs and symptoms

  • Intense pain and edema peaks around 30 minutes to 90 minutes and lasts up to 48 hours.2
  • Systemic signs of venom toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, diaphoresis, hypotension, arrhythmias, and seizures. 5


  • Hot water immersion
    • There is a risk of sustaining a thermal burn, but this can be mitigated by testing the uninjured limb in the hot water bath first.
    • Water as hot as tolerated should be used; one study used 110°-114°F (43.3°-45.6°C).3
    • One retrospective study showed that 88% of patients who were treated with hot water immersion alone achieved complete pain relief within 30 minutes.6
  • Wound care
    • Consider removing the spine if it is superficially embedded in the wound; do not remove any spines causing through and through penetrations or any located in the neck, thorax, or abdomen (consult surgery for penetrating injuries in these regions).
    • Even if the spine or sheath does not break off into the wound, irrigation is key to removing debris such as sand.
    • Tetanus prophylaxis.
  • X-rays
    • Stingrays have cartilaginous exoskeletons, so spine fragments may not be seen on radiographs.
    • One study suggested that radiographs were low yield; of the 68 patients that received an X-ray, two had radio-opaque foreign bodies (sand as well as an unidentified object that was unsuccessfully removed in the ED).6
    • One case report described the development of tenosynovitis in a patient who had a retained stingray spine that was not imaged on multiple visits.7
  • Antibiotic prophylaxis
    • In a retrospective chart review, 17% of patients who did not receive antibiotic prophylaxis versus 1.4% who did receive antibiotics returned with an infection. There was no information on the patients who developed infections (e.g. risk factors, age, wound characteristics, etc.).6
    • In a prospective study that consisted of mostly healthy young males in which none received antibiotic prophylaxis, 4.5% of patients returned with an infection.8
    • If antibiotics are prescribed, a 5-day course of quinolones to cover for Vibrio, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus is recommended. 6
  • Observation for patients experiencing systemic manifestations of stingray envenomation.

Mechanism of toxicity

  • For a variety of reasons, stingray venom is difficult to study.
  • Based on one study, the venom contains cardiotoxic and heat labile proteins9, which explains why hot water is key to pain management.


  • Infections
  • Retained foreign body


  • Avoid touching marine life.
  • Wear gear that covers exposed skin.
  • Do the “stingray shuffle” —shuffle feet when walking in shallow sandy areas to alert nearby stingrays.5

Take home points

  • Hot water is very effective at treating pain.
  • Consider radiographs and antibiotics, and regardless, provide patients with good return precautions for the development of infections.


References/Further Reading:

  1. Diaz JH. The evaluation, management, and prevention of stingray injuries in travelers. J Travel Med 2008;15:102-9.
  2. Balhara KS, Stolbach A. Marine envenomations. Emerg Med Clin North Am 2014;32:223-43.
  3. Clark RF, Girard RH, Rao D, Ly BT, Davis DP. Stingray envenomation: a retrospective review of clinical presentation and treatment in 119 cases. J Emerg Med 2007;33:33-7.
  4. Auerbach PS. Envenomation by aquatic vertebrates: Stingrays. 6 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2011.
  5. Hornbeak KB, Auerbach PS. Marine Envenomation. Emerg Med Clin North Am 2017;35:321-37.
  6. Clark AT, Clark RF, Cantrell FL. A Retrospective Review of the Presentation and Treatment of Stingray Stings Reported to a Poison Control System. Am J Ther 2017;24:e177-e80.
  7. O’Malley GF, O’Malley RN, Pham O, Randolph F. Retained Stingray Barb and the Importance of Imaging. Wilderness Environ Med 2015;26:375-9.
  8. Myatt T, Nguyen BJ, Clark RF, Coffey CH, O’Connell CW. A Prospective Study of Stingray Injury and Envenomation Outcomes. J Emerg Med 2018;55:213-7.
  9. Russell FE, Van Harreveld A. Cardiovascular effects of the venom of the round stingray, Urobatis halleri. Arch Int Physiol Biochim 1954;62:322-33.

Stingray Envenomation of the Foot: A case report

by Al Kline, DPM1

The Foot & Ankle Journal 1 (6): 4

Stingrays are docile marine animals that only strike their victim when provoked or startled. Lower extremity and foot envenomation is common when fishing in shallow waters off the beach. The stingray tail has a sharp, serrated barb along the proximal third of the tail that is usually hidden and encased in an integumentary sheath and can deliver painful enzymes causing tissue necrosis. Immediate treatment including rapid cleansing and heat submersion of the foot is recommended after injury. If treatment is delayed, infection from marine bacteria often requires hospitalization including intravenous antibiotics and surgical treatment.

Key words: Stingray envenomation

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.  It permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. ©The Foot & Ankle Journal (www.faoj.org)

Accepted: May 2008
Published: June 2008

ISSN 1941-6806
doi: 10.3827/faoj.2008.0106.0004

Stingray envenomation of the foot is a common marine injury. There is an estimated 1500 stingray injuries reported annually in the United States. [1] Usually, a person will be fishing in shallow water and accidentally step on the stingray. This causes an instinctive, defense mechanism of the stingray. The tail will lash upward like a scorpion and penetrate a sharp bard in the lower extremity or foot. The stingray tail has a sharp, serrated barb along the proximal third of the tail that is usually hidden and encased in an integumentary sheath. The stinger barb is made of cartilage and the serrations are directed proximally.

This means, that as the barb penetrates, the barb can rip tissue or even lacerate tendons, ligaments and other soft tissue as it pulls away from the puncture site. (Fig. 1) The integumentary sheath that encases the barb also contains a venomous protein that is released into a wound when the barb strikes and the sheath ruptures. This will cause intense pain and tissue necrosis. The barb can remain or break off in the wound. Fortunately, this only occurs in about 5% of reported cases. [2,6]

Figure 1  The serrated stingray barb.  The barb is encased in an integumentary sheath.  The serrated spines are directed proximally and can cause extensive tissue damage when pulled from a wound.

Envenomation occurs in up to 75% of reported stingray injuries. [6] The stingray venom contains the neurotransmitter serotonin and two enzymes; 5-nucleotidase, and phosphodiesterase. [2] Serotonin is responsible for the intense pain associated with the sting and the 5-nucleotidase and phosphodiesterase enzymes cause intense tissue necrosis.

Fatal envenomation is extremely rare and has recently come to light due to the death of “The Crocodile Hunter”, Steve Irwin, on September 4th, 2006. Steve Irwin was snorkeling in water and swam close to an Australian bull ray. (Fig. 2) The ray was startled and lashed its tail upward and pierced Steve Irwin’s heart. He died shortly after pulling the barb from his chest. It was reported at that time that only three fatal envenomations in Australia’s history had been reported before Irwin’s death.

Figure 2   The Australian bull ray or Southern eagle ray (Myliobatis australis).

Interestingly, one month later in October 2006, James Bertikas from Florida was stung by a ray as the barb also pierced his heart. However, he did not remove the barb, and survived his injury. In his case, a 2 ½ inch barb penetrated his left lung and migrated into his heart crossing both the left and right ventricle. [8] Most deaths occur from the actual laceration of a major artery or organ such as the heart from the barb and not the venomous effects.

However, in one report, a 12 year old boy died after envenomation from a freak accident when an ‘airborne’ ray slammed against his chest penetrating the barb into the boys left lung and piercing the pericardium.

The boy was relatively asymptomatic and initially treated for a puncture wound to the chest and knee, but he died six days later from sequestered venom and myocardial necrosis causing right ventricular rupture and fatal cardiac tamponade. [2,6] Another reported case involved a man who sustained a laceration to his femoral artery and bled to death. [2] In most cases, stingray injuries are not life-threatening, but can cause long-term complications. In one report, osteomyelitis of the malleolus resulted from an ankle strike seven months after injury. [6]

The effects of envenomation are not clearly understood as to reported systemic effects. Common reported symptoms can include diaphoresis, nausea, cardiac arrhythmias,tremors, skin rash, headache,delirium, fever, hypertension, syncope, anxiety and a host of other common allergic reactions.

Another complication from injury is the seawater and bacteria that can enter a wound on penetration during this injury.

We present the case of a 31 year old male who stepped on a stingray while fishing. He delayed initial treatment, continued to fish and developed cellulitis with a painful foot which required hospitalization and surgical treatment.

Case Report

A 31 year-old male presented to the emergency room with a hot, swollen foot. He was fishing in shallow water the day before and was stung by a stingray. He felt a sharp pain to the top of his foot. He continued to fish most of the day. In the evening, his foot swelling and pain got progressively worse. His wife went to the internet and realized that submerging the foot in hot water would eliminate the pain. He submerged the foot in water and his pain dissipated that evening. In the morning, he had a progressive increase in pain and presented to the emergency room for treatment.

Clinical evaluation revealed a small puncture wound to the dorsolateral aspect of the right foot. (Fig. 3) There was increased soft tissue swelling with slight tissue crepitus. His laboratory data revealed a 16,000 white count with a left shift. Routine radiographic evaluation showed an area of gas in the region of the puncture wound, but no sign of barb. (Fig. 4)

Figure 3   A small puncture wound is see to the dorsolateral aspect of the foot consistent with a stingray envenomation.  The central puncture wound will have signs of tissue necrosis.

Figure 4   Radiographic evaluation reveals soft tissue gas formation in the subcutaneous tissues of the dorsal foot.   No barb is seen on radiograph.

It was recommended he go directly to the operating room for incision and drainage with exploration of the wound.

Surgical exploration revealed soft tissue necrosis through the subcutaneous layer from the initial envenomation. All soft tissue was removed and sent for deep tissue culture. Some local debris was flushed from the wound, but no barb was located. The wound was thoroughly irrigated with Betadine solution and Bacitracin irrigation. The wound was then loosely packed and the edges of the incision were loosely approximated. (Fig. 5)

Figure 5    It is important to open the puncture site and remove any necrotic tissue and explore for foreign material that may cause continued infection.  Necrotic tissue is removed, the edges of the wound can be loosely approximated and the central injury point may granulate and heal by secondary intention.

Tissue cultures revealed Staphylococcus aureus. He was placed on IV Levaquin. His initial infection took about a week to resolve and he was discharged from the hospital. He continued local wound care and within 2 weeks of his injury, the wound closed. (Fig. 6)

Figure 6  The wound is now closed and the patient has returned to work without incident.


It is important to initially submerge the foot into hot water after the incident. Rapid application of heat will denature the enzymes causing the pain and limit the effects of tissue necrosis. It is recommended that immediate submersion into hot, but not scalding, water will also help to ease the pain of this injury.

It is recommended to submerge the foot into a water temperature of 42 to 45 degrees Celsius (108-113 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 to 90 minutes, or until the pain resolves. [3] Infection of the wound can usually be avoided with aggressive wound cleansing and oral antibiotics.

In cases where cellulites results in delayed treatment or is not responsive to oral antibiotics, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics is recommended. The most common pathogens to infect the wound include Staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus species. Water-borne pathogens of concern include Vibrios vulnificans in salt water and Aeromonas species in fresh water.

In more serious lacerations, it is important to immediately control hemorrhage from the laceration by applying direct pressure to the wound. Applying a tourniquet to the extremity is not recommended because swelling and systemic effects are rare in extremity wounds. [2] The wound should always be cleansed thoroughly with an antibacterial wound cleanser immediately after injury. Hexachlorophene in 70% alcohol (pHisoHex®) or Betadine solution will provide good antibacterial cleansing of the wound. [6]

Although there is no antidote or anti-venom , it has also been reported that direct injection of 1% lignocaine (or lidocaine) may have an anti-venomous affect to the venom that remains in the wound. [6] If the patient presents some time after injury to the emergency room with a hot, swollen foot, it is important to incise and open the puncture site, even if no barb is present. Intravenous antibiotic therapy is recommended until the cellulites has resolved. Hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of stingray envenomation has also proved to be beneficial. [4]

Tetanus prophylaxis should also be current. Levofloxin or Levaquin is the drug of choice against Vibrio species and will cover Staphylococcus aureus and multi-drug, gram-negative organisms common to penetration injuries. Bactrim and Doxycyline are also good against Vibrio species, although the coverage is not as good for staph and strep species. [3]

Of course, antibiotic treatment can be tailored to the results of deep tissue samples taken at time of surgery to determine the infective organism. At time of surgery, it is recommended to inspect the wound for foreign material, remove any necrotic tissue, take deep tissue biopsy for culture and leave the wound packed open. Packing can include Betadine gauze or calcium alginate. Calcium alginate dressing or Kaltostat® has been reported to absorb toxin in one report. [7]


Stingrays belong the the class Chondrichthyes meaning cartilaginous fishes. These are usually docile creatures that only strike when provoked or feel threatened. In this case, medical treatment after initial injury was delayed which required surgical treatment and prolonged hospitalization. The delay in initial treatment caused progressive tissue necrosis and secondary infection after injury.

It is important to treat these injuries promptly. If the injury is not life-threatening, it is important to quickly cleanse the wound and submerge the foot in hot water to deactivate the tissue enzymes that cause pain and tissue necrosis. Ideally, medical treatment will consist of radiographs to eliminate the possibility of a barb that may remain in the wound. In the emergency room setting, the wound can be injected with 1% lidocaine and lanced at the puncture site. The wound should then be aggressively irrigated with Betadine. A calcium alginate dressing can then be applied to the open wound and allowed to heal by secondary intention. Oral antibiotics with coverage for gram positive and negative organisms are prescribed at discharge.


1. Perkins, A.R., Morgan, S.S.: Poisoning, Envenomation and Trauma from Marine Creatures. American Family Physician, February, 2004 [Online]

2. Ganard, S. Stingray Injuries, Envenomation, and Medical Mangement. [Online article]

3. Meade, J.L. Stingray Envenomations, Emedicine article [Online]

4. Rocca, A.F. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in the treatment of soft tissue necrosis resulting from a stingray puncture wound. Foot Ankle Int. 22 (4): 318-323, April 2001. [PubMed]

5. Perkins, A.R., Morgan, S.S.: Poisoning, Envenomation and Trauma from Marine Creatures. American Family Physician, February, 2004 [Online]

6. Fenner, P.J. et al: Fatal and Non-Fatal Stingray Envenomation. Med Journal Australia : 151:621-625. 1989. [PDF]

7. Fenner, P.J.: Stingray Envenomation: A Suggested New Treatment. Med Journal Australia: 163: 665. 1995 [PDF]

8. St. Petersburg Times [Online news wire], October, 2006.

Address correspondence to: Dr. Al Kline, DPM, 3130 South Alameda, Corpus Christi, Texas 78404. E-mail: [email protected]

1Adjunct Clinical Faculty, Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine. Private practice, Chief of Podiatry, Doctors Regional Medical Center. Corpus Christi, Texas, 78411.

© The Foot & Ankle Journal, 2008

Stingrays | National Geographic

Common Name:

Scientific Name:



Average Life Span In The Wild:
15 to 25 years

Up to 6.5 feet

Up to 790 pounds

Stingrays are commonly found in the shallow coastal waters of temperate seas. They spend the majority of their time inactive, partially buried in sand, often moving only with the sway of the tide.

Unique Traits

The stingray’s coloration commonly reflects the seafloor’s shading, camouflaging it from predatory sharks and larger rays. Their flattened bodies are composed of pectoral fins joined to their head and trunk with an infamous tail trailing behind.

While the stingray’s eyes peer out from its dorsal side, its mouth, nostrils, and gill slits are situated on its underbelly. Its eyes are therefore not thought by scientists to play a considerable role in hunting. Like its shark relatives, the stingray is outfitted with electrical sensors called ampullae of Lorenzini. Located around the stingray’s mouth, these organs sense the natural electrical charges of potential prey. Many rays have jaw teeth to enable them to crush mollusks such as clams, oysters, and mussels.


When they are inclined to move, most stingrays swim by undulating their bodies like a wave; others flap their sides like wings. The tail may also be used to maneuver in the water, but its primary purpose is protection.

Barb and Venom

The stingray’s spine, or barb, can be ominously fashioned with serrated edges and a sharp point. The underside may produce venom, which can be fatal to humans, and which can remain deadly even after the stingray’s death. In Greek mythology, Odysseus, the great king of Ithaca, was killed when his son, Telegonus, struck him using a spear tipped with the spine of a stingray.

You may have heard that the ability to chew food separates mammals from other animals. But new footage reveals that stingrays—at least the ocellate river stingray—chew their food too. Watch how one stingray chomps down on dragonfly larvae.

What to Know About Stingray Stings

Well it is still time for surf, sand, sun, and… Stingrays! Our southern beaches are home for thousands of Round Rays. Seal Beach itself has more than 400 stingray injuries per year and populated by nearly 20,000 rays. Stingrays also love Santa Monica, Newport Beach and are numerous all the way down to San Diego.  They are mild-mannered and shy little guys that are the size of dinner plates. They hide in the sand from predators (sharks and seals) and prefer the shallow warm water. They lay there quietly minding their own business until they get stepped on by an inadvertent bather and… BAM!  Stingrays have an inch-long barb filled with venom shoots that out and stabs a foot or ankle. The barb can cause a significant laceration and can break off into the wound. Immediately the victim feels an excruciating pain which quickly starts to spread up the injured limb.

Most people don’t know what hit them until they are seen by the lifeguards hopping out of the water in a panic. Fortunately, most of our local lifeguard’s stations are equipped with immersion tanks filled with hot water. Soaking the limb immediately with water as hot as one can stand (113 degrees F) neutralizes the venom but may take 60 to 90 minutes to do the job thoroughly.

Any victim of stingray wounds should seek medical care as soon as possible after the pain is controlled with hot water treatment. Whether or not barb fragments are seen in the wound, an X-ray should be obtained to visualize any deep fragments below the skin. The wound should be irrigated well. The doctor can inject local anesthesia to help with pain relief and facilitate barb removal. Tetanus vaccine should be given if needed. Everyone needs antibiotics to prevent nasty infections from ocean bacteria as well as skin staph and strep bacteria.  Most wounds will be sore for a few days but the initial venom-induced pain can only be relieved by hot water immersion, so obtain that treatment any possible way that you can right away.

How to avoid sting ray wounds? Don’t think that surf booties or other footwear will help. Barbs can penetrate even thick leather boots. Do the “stingray shuffle” when entering the water and stir up the sand well. Make sure they know you are “in the house!” If you are fishing and catch a ray, cut the line before they can get you in the hand, arm, or worse- the torso. Venom injected above the waist can be deadly. Rays are flexible and can direct that barb all the way over their heads in defense.

So be careful, watchful, and shuffle those feet when entering the ocean this season and everyone will have fun in the sun!


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.


Self-Care / First Aid

For Poisonous Snake Bites Before Medical Care

  1. •Carefully move the person away from the snake. Calm the person. Have him or her rest. Moving about can help spread the venom.

  2. •Gently wash the bite area with soap and water. Keep the limb of the bite site level with the heart (or just below this). Apply a splint to the limb of the bite site to keep it from moving.

  3. •Being careful, note, if you can, the shape of the snakes eyes, pupils, and head, the colors it is, and if it has rattles.

  4. •Don’t try to kill the snake, cut the fang mark, or suck out the venom.

  5. •Don’t apply a tourniquet, a bandage, or ice to the bite.

For Non-Poisonous Snake Bites

  1. •Gently wash the site with soap and water.

  2. •Treat the bite as a minor wound. (See For Minor Cuts and Scrapes.)

  3. •If you notice signs of an infection, call your doctor.

For Poisonous Spider Bites Until Emergency Care Arrives

  1. •Perform rescue breathing, if needed. (See Rescue Breath.)

  2. •If you can, keep the bitten area lower than the level of the heart.

  3. •Calm the person and keep him or her warm.

  4. •Gently clean the site of the bite with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.

  5. •Put an ice pack over the bite site for pain relief.

  6. •If you can, catch the spider in a closed container to show what kind it is.

For Poisonous Spider and Scorpion Bites Before Medical Care

  1. •Do rescue breathing, if needed.

  2. •If you can, keep the bitten area lower than the level of the heart.

  3. •Calm the victim and keep him or her warm.

  4. •Gently clean the site of the bite with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.

  5. •Put an ice pack over the bite site to relieve pain.

  6. •If you can, catch the spider in a closed container to show the doctor.

  7. •Get emergency care!

For Human Bites Before Medical Care

  1. •Wash the wound area with soap and water for at least 5 minutes. Don’t scrub hard. Rinse with running water or with an antiseptic solution, such as Betadine.

  2. •Cover the wound area with sterile gauze. Tape only the ends of the gauze in place. Then get medical care.

For Deer Tick Bites

  1. •Remove any ticks found on the skin. Use tweezers to grasp the tick(s) as close to the skin as you can. Firmly, but gently begin rotating the head part in a counterclockwise manner until the whole headpiece comes out. Or, pull gently and carefully in a steady upward motion at the point where the tick’s mouthpart enters the skin. Try not to crush the tick. The secretions released may spread disease.

  2. •After you remove the ticks, wash the wound area and your hands with soap and water. Apply rubbing alcohol to help disinfect the area.

  3. •Use an ice pack over the bite area to relieve pain.

  4. •Save one tick in a closed jar with rubbing alcohol to show the doctor.

For Dog and Cat Bites

  1. •Wash the bite area right away with soap and warm water for 5 minutes. If the bite is deep, flush the wound with water for 10 minutes. Dry the wound with a clean towel. Then get medical care.

  2. •If the wound is swollen, apply ice wrapped in a towel for 10 minutes.

  3. •Get a tetanus shot, if needed.

  4. •If the bite hurts, take an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine for pain.

  5. •Report the incident to the animal control department. If a pet’s immunizations are not current, arrange with the animal control department for the pet to be observed for the next 10 days to check for rabies.

  6. •Observe the wound for a few days. Look for signs of infection. Often, cat bite wounds need an antibiotic.

Marine Stings and Scrapes | HealthLink BC

Topic Overview

Walking on a beach or swimming in the ocean can be fun and relaxing. But just like any other activities, injuries can happen. This topic will help you determine the next steps to take if you have a jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war sting, seabather’s eruption, or a coral scrape.


Jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-wars are members of a large group of venomous marine animals that also includes fire coral and sea anemones. They are present all over the world and cause injury and illness through the release of venom when their tentacles come in contact with skin (stinging). Tentacles are long, slender, flexible growths found on jellyfish, Portuguese man-of-wars, squid, and octopuses. Tentacles are used for grasping, feeling, moving, and killing prey by stinging. While the sting of a jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war can cause severe illness and extreme pain, documented deaths are rare.

Jellyfish are often present in coastal waters, having been brought ashore by winds or ocean currents. They are most common in warm ocean waters, especially along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Stings result from contact with the tentacles, which trail from the jellyfish’s see-through body. Jellyfish swimming in the water are often hard to see. Beached jellyfish, which may look like the cellophane wrapper from a cigarette pack, can sting if touched.

Jellyfish stings cause immediate, intense pain and burning that can last for several hours. Raised, red welts develop along the site of the sting, which may look like you have been hit with a whip. The welts may last for 1 to 2 weeks, and itchy skin rashes may appear 1 to 4 weeks after the sting. Fortunately, most jellyfish stings are not severe. Extensive stings, allergic reactions, or severe reactions are not common but do occur. To avoid the risk of drowning, swimmers should get out of the water as soon as they realize they have been stung.

The box jellyfish, which is found in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, can cause a fatal reaction. It is the only jellyfish for which a specific antidote (antivenom) exists. If you get this antidote, it may save your life.

Seabather’s eruption is a rash that develops from the stings of jellyfish or sea anemone larvae. The rash can be quite itchy and annoying, but it usually goes away without medical treatment in 10 to 14 days.

Portuguese man-of-wars (hydrozoans) live in warm seas throughout the world but are most common in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans and in the Gulf Stream of the North Atlantic Ocean. They float on the surface of the water with their long, stinging tentacles trailing in the water below. Detached tentacles that wash up on the beach may remain dangerous for months.

Portuguese man-of-war stings produce immediate burning pain and redness where the tentacles touched the skin. The affected area develops a red line with small white lesions. In severe cases, blisters and welts that look like a string of beads may appear. Stings that involve the eye may cause pain, swelling, excessive tears, blurred vision, or increased sensitivity to light. Severe reactions are most likely to occur in children and small adults. Severe toxic reactions to the venom can also occur.

Stingrays are members of the shark family. They have sharp spines in their tails that can cause cuts or puncture wounds. The spines also have venom. Stingrays do not bite but can suck with their mouths and leave a bruise.

Coral scrapes

Coral scrapes and cuts are common injuries that may occur when you walk on a beach or swim, snorkel, or dive in warm water. Coral polyps, the soft living material that covers the surface of coral, can be easily torn away from the rigid and abrasive structure underneath if you touch, bump, or fall on coral. A skin infection may develop when small pieces of coral, other debris, and bacteria get inside the wound. Scrapes and cuts from sharp-edged coral may take weeks or even months to heal.

Consequences of a poisonous stingray prick with a thorn

Spines of the Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana)

Stingrays form one of the largest and most important groups of venomous marine animals. There are 2,000 stingray shots reported annually in the United States. They inhabit warm, subtropical and tropical waters. The favorite habitat of these passive, secretive animals is the sandy or muddy bottom of closed lagoons and estuaries, where they feed on crustaceans and molluscs.

Stingrays have one to four venomous stings on the back of an elongated, tail-like whip-like appendage.This tail is a cartilaginous process studded with serrated spines. It is covered with a thin layer of skin that hides two ventrolateral areas with venom glands. When the tail sticks into the victim, the epithelial membrane of the glands breaks open, releasing poison. Like other poisonous fish, the shell breaks on contact with the victim, allowing the venom to enter the wound. The poison contains at least 10 amino acids and toxic substances, including phosphodiesterase, 5′-nucleotidase and serotonin. When extracted, the poison is destroyed very quickly, as it is very unstable and thermolabile.

Stingrays attack only for defense purposes, and this usually happens when people inadvertently touch or step on the animal. If you touch the wings of the stingray, then it throws its tail forward, plunging it into the victim. Outside the water, a stingray can also prick a person while in a net or on a hook. There has been a documented case of injury by a person stepping on a dead, decomposing animal.

Stingrays periodically appear on the coast of Wales. The following describes the case of a fisherman receiving a laceration of the lower leg from contact with the slope.

Description of Case
Stingrays appeared on the coast of Wales in July 1994. An angler caught a 19 kilogram (42 lb) stingray in South Wales but was able to avoid contact with the poisonous sting. On the west coast of Wales, a fisherman caught an 18 kg (40 lb) stingray during a fishing event hosted by the Wales Fire Department. Several colleagues helped him carry the animal ashore, and, unfortunately, one of them hit the stingray, which sank its tail into the fisherman. The sting pierced the boots (modified rubber) and trousers, severing the shin of the left leg.The patient reported acute pain in the wound area. Later, the pain spread to the ankle. The fisherman went to the nearest emergency department. The doctor who examined him reported the incident to the Welsh National Poisons Unit, whose experts provided advice on trauma management. The wound was washed with warm water to neutralize thermolabile poisons. It was then disinfected and the edges of the wound were treated surgically under general anesthesia. The wound was not sutured, but bandaged, and the patient was left overnight for further observation.The patient was prescribed antibiotics and did not need a tetanus vaccine. The fisherman was discharged the next morning and was seen by his therapist. Follow-up showed that the patient again went to the emergency room as the leg was swollen and reddened. The soft tissues of the leg were examined several times, and the wound healed after two months. An 8 cm scar remained on the lower leg.

Clinical manifestation
Symptoms of the injection appear immediately.In the area of ​​the wound, severe pain appears, proportional to the severity of the injury. Swelling around the wound is persistent, but the severity may vary. The wound turns blue, then erythema (or reddening of the skin caused by the expansion of capillaries) and petechiae (minute hemorrhages) may appear. As a result, local tissue necrosis, ulceration, gangrene may occur. The peak of pain occurs within 90 minutes. Without medical treatment of the wound, the pain lasts up to 48 hours. Systemic manifestations and signs can vary significantly and include nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps and fasciculations, sweating, fainting, and headaches.Cases of manifestations of cardiac arrhythmias, arterial hypotension, convulsions and, in rare cases, death were also recorded.

Soft tissue damage from stingray pricks can be extensive. In addition to the puncture wound, the cutting action of the thorns leads to damage and rupture of the underlying soft tissue. Most often, people injure the lower and upper limbs. Severe injuries and fatalities from stingray sting are described in Cooper’s article, including fatalities from tail striking to the chest and abdomen.Foreign components (cartilage and epithelium) can get into the wound. Secondary infection occurs quite often due to the unique environment created by the sea water. Pathogenic marine bacteria can be halophilic (bacteria that live in environments with high salt concentrations), heterotrophic (bacteria that need complex compounds for nutrition, since the possibilities of their synthesis are limited), mobile, gram-negative. The genus of bacteria Vibrio is quite common and can be very dangerous for immunocompromised people.

The goal of treatment is to neutralize the local and systemic effects of the poison, reduce pain and prevent infection. The wound should be immediately treated with any available liquid. In practice, this is usually sea water. Any visible pieces of sting or epithelial tissue should be removed. As soon as the opportunity arises, the wound should be rinsed with warm water (about 40 ° C) for 30-90 minutes, avoiding possible thermal damage. Heat will inactivate any thermolabile poisons.If pain persists, it can be relieved by flushing with warm water, regional anesthesia, or wound infiltration. Vesicular fluid should be removed in a timely manner under sterile conditions. Then the wound is washed again, examined, and necrotic tissues and foreign bodies are removed. With the help of X-ray, the remains of radiopaque cartilaginous spines can be determined. You may need to leave the wound open for a while or perform additional surgery. Antibiotic prophylaxis is controversial, but antibiotics can be prescribed for people with low immunity or for very serious wounds.Tetanus prophylaxis should always be kept in mind. Patients should be monitored for four hours after the injection to detect possible systemic reactions. Sometimes the ingress of poison is accompanied by an allergic reaction, in which case prompt treatment of anaphylaxis will be required.

Fortunately, a large number of stingrays lose or tear the epithelial membrane of the glands (45% of 4000 in one study), so the attacks of stingrays are limited only to soft tissue injury without the ingress of poisons.
based on RJ Evans, R S Davies. Stingray injury. Accid EmergMed 1996; 13: 224-225

90 042 90 000 Skates hit without missing – Safetravels.info

There are fifteen families of stingrays, but the average tourist most often encounters stingrays that he needs to be wary of. The name itself suggests that their whip-shaped tail is used as a weapon.Stingrays are color-coordinated with the environment, making them difficult to spot against the bottom. Swimming at the very bottom or digging up the sand with their fins, they look for small animals: worms, crustaceans, molluscs, which they feed on.

Distribution area. Stingrays can be seen off the coast of Europe, Africa, America and Australia. They live not only in the salty waters of the seas, but also in the mouths of rivers and even in fresh waters in the rivers of South America, Central Africa and Indochina.Fish of this family are found from the latitudes of the Baltic Sea to the middle latitudes of South America, including the Mediterranean, Black, Azov and Baltic seas. In the Russian seas, one of the most common species is found – the common stingray (lat.Dasyatis pastinaca). It is also called the sea cat. It can have two or three spines on its tail.

Stingrays usually keep in shallow water near the coast and often swim to the very coast. Favorite spots: shallow bays, coastlines along beaches and estuaries with sandy or muddy bottoms – here they burrow into the sand in search of their prey.

What is dangerous. People often become victims of hidden stingrays. If an unsuspecting person steps on a stingray disguised in shallow water, he gets hit with his tail, on which there are long poisonous thorns. In large stingrays, the length of the spine can reach 37 cm. The spines are provided with teeth, and the grooves of the spines contain venom. There are usually one or two spines on the tail.

Very rarely, these fish behave aggressively when meeting people under water.But a well-known case was when a large stingray stingray in 2006 killed popular Australian TV presenter Steve Irwin with a blow to the chest during an underwater shooting.

Prevention of injuries. Stingray does not show aggression when in the water next to a person. He can swim next to the bathers, not paying attention to them. If you approach a swimming slope, it usually prefers to swim away. But it is better to sail away without any sudden movements. A real danger appears if a person accidentally steps on a stingray buried in the sand.Then a poisonous sting is used as a means of defense.

To prevent injury in shallow water, you must carefully inspect the bottom. It is recommended in unfamiliar places, where a meeting with a stingray is possible, to walk with a dragging gait without raising your legs. When sending small children to swim, first examine this place. Don’t let them run in shallow water and chase fish.

Dangerous consequences. Impact from stingrays can cause serious injury. Some species of stingray, which have large, serrated spines, inflict large lacerations, leaving their spines in these wounds.When removed, the backward-bent prongs can severely damage the surrounding soft tissue. In addition, poison from the thorn penetrates into the wound, and infection can penetrate.

As a result of poisoning, in addition to the appearance of acute pain, the victim’s blood pressure decreases, tachycardia, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle paralysis occur. The wound swells up a lot.

Most often, injuries occur on the legs. In these cases, severe consequences can be avoided by providing the victim with timely medical assistance.It is much worse if a spike hits the stomach or chest – it is very dangerous and can lead to fatal consequences.

First aid. After washing the wound with sea water and stopping the bleeding, it is necessary to prevent the action of the poison. As in cases with injuries from other poisonous fish, the affected leg must be soaked in the hottest water that the victim can tolerate (about 45 degrees) for 30 to 90 minutes. If the wound is on the body, then hot compresses are applied. In parallel, it is important to take measures to provide qualified medical care.

In the literature (B. Holstead, Dangerous Marine Animals), another first aid option is described:
The method of treatment is known as the L-C method, or ligature-cryotherapy. Immediately after the injection, without making an incision, a ligature is applied to the limb above the injection site, but as close as possible to the site of poison penetration. The wounded arm or leg with the bandage is immersed in ice water for at least 5 and no more than 10 minutes. After that, the ligature is removed, but the affected limb must remain in ice water for at least 2 hours.If you use only water with ice, then there is no danger of frostbite, but salt should not be added. This method has been used many times to treat stingray wounds and the results have been good.

In any case, after first aid, further treatment should be carried out by specialists. Physicians must anesthetize, remove foreign bodies from the wound with minimal tissue damage, determine the use of agents that stimulate respiration and cardiac activity, antibiotics, anti-tetanus vaccinations, sew up lacerated wounds and prescribe further treatment.An X-ray will allow you to determine if there are fragments of thorns in the wound.

Medical insurance. Medical care in other countries is very expensive, so tourists should definitely take out medical insurance. On the site sravni.ru you can compare the cost of health insurance from 12 leading insurance companies and apply for an insurance policy online. Compare.ru – comparison of travel insurance

Stories of victims and eyewitnesses

Vladislav Balinsky , diver from Odessa (was attacked by a stingray on the Odessa beach, July 25, 2016.):
For twenty years of active diving, I was struck yesterday for the first time with a thorn in my hand by an ordinary stingray-stingray (Sea cat) … The fact that this is very painful and difficult to stop the bleeding, I hope, is known to many. But the fact that today you can come across this ancient fish right on the beaches of Odessa will be news for many. In my case, of course, I myself am to blame. Sailing along one of the Odessa beaches, in the water area of ​​the breakwater, I was surprised to find 4 medium-sized stingrays.I played with one of them … The whole problem is that the cats were lying near the shore, at a depth of one and a half meters, right within the boundaries of the bathing zone.


Alexei , Thailand (hit by a stalker spike, 2010):
I was swimming in the glowing plankton at night on that island, and I was thinking how wonderful life in paradise was when I felt someone chopping my leg with a chainsaw.Somehow I got to the shore. The pain in my leg is simply cosmic, and I decided that I would not cross the mountain .. I did not know what hit me, and how strong the poison was, so I called a friend and he sent a whole destroyer fishing ship for me. Thais heroically and for a very long time maneuvered, coming as close as possible; in the end I lost patience (hellish pain), squeezed cellophane with a coin in my teeth and scratched it by swimming. It was truly a sprint swim 🙂
The brave sailors took me to the hospital.There the wound was washed, the antidote was rolled in, filled with a bag of pills (ibuprofen, CPM ?, dicloxo … something there and paracetamol) and let go to sleep. I fit into a city hotel, took off my wet clothes, and, to keep my head busy, turned on the TV. On the only English-language channel there was a film about a man-eating shark.
Now I am lying on the veranda of a house in the jungle, with my foot up, for it is swollen like a ball and is gradually turning black. The wound itself, in general, is not scary, so I hope to get back on my feet soon.


Take care of yourself.

For other dangerous fish that you can meet on vacation by the sea, read the article: “Underwater Dangers of the Seas.”

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Stingrays appeared on the beaches of Odessa: are their bites dangerous? »News from Ovidiopol

Recently, on the Odessa beach, a man received a stingray injection in his hand.

This is reported by Pivdenna Media of Fringe.

According to the comments of experts, the prick of the stingray-stingray or, as it is also called, “sea cat” is not fatal to humans, but very painful.

“If a person does not have an individual intolerance, there are a number of necessary measures to reduce pain. If the thorn does not remain at the injection site, then you can do without the help of doctors. The wound should be rinsed with hot water as soon as possible and antihistamines should be taken.But if the victim’s state of health has not improved or some complications appear, you need to see a doctor who will prescribe treatment, “said ecologist Vladislav Balinsky.

In the event that there was no hot water nearby, doctors recommend sucking the poison in the first 10 minutes after the injection, and then rinsing abundantly with sea water. If spike fragments remain in the wound, they must be carefully removed. Since the spikes are barbed, you must first pull them forward a little to unhook the barb from the fabric and twist it a little before pulling it out.Treat the wound with an antiseptic, and immobilize the injured limb by applying a pressure bandage just above the injection site and change it periodically.

“Stingrays are dangerous if you try to pick it up or step inadvertently when it is resting. On the beaches they are most likely by accident. These fish are very shy and will not sit among swimming people. For a stingray, a spike is protection, a way to avoid danger. Swimmers. they are bad, so they defend themselves as best they can. If there is an opportunity to swim away, he will swim away, but if there is no opportunity, then he will defend himself as much as he can.Or maybe he’s just this poisonous thorn. Well, they don’t think about people, it’s their sea, ”wrote the author of the video, hydrobiologist Yuri Karavansky in the comments.

Stingray stingray is a poisonous fish that lives in the Black and Azov seas. They are usually up to 1 meter in size, and the color is grayish-brown without spots. A distinctive feature of this marine life is a poisonous spike at the end of the tail, which can reach up to 30 centimeters in length. According to some statistics, about three thousand people suffer from stingray injections every year.A stingray injection is very painful to humans and can cause severe discomfort, but is not fatal.

90,000 In Tasmania, a stingray killed an Australian. And they say that this fish is not dangerous

Photo caption,

Stingray stingrays rarely behave aggressively, and cases of stingray attacks on humans are extremely rare

42-year-old Australian died as a result of a stingray attack stingray off the coast of Tasmania, police said.The Australian suffered cardiac arrest as a result of a blow to his lower abdomen.

Tragedy occurred at Lauderdale Beach in the Australian island state of Tasmania.

Stingray stingrays are not considered dangerous animals for humans and, according to experts, they never attack people first. But these are large fish, their body size often exceeds two meters, so you need to be careful when dealing with them.

Like other stingrays, stingrays live on the seabed, hiding in rocks and rock crevices.The stalker can attack if it senses a threat and has nowhere to hide. Stingrays often bury themselves in the sand in shallow water, and it is not recommended to step on them.

Stingray stingrays are a potential hazard due to the poisonous spike located on the tail.

Stalker venom has been known for a long time. The natives of Australia and Malaysia, as well as the Indians of Central America, used a stingray needle as a point and smeared arrowheads with poison.

Fatalities are very rare.In 2006, a stingray stingray stabbed Australia’s popular naturalist and wildlife television host Steve Irwin.

Photo author, Getty Images

Photo caption,

Naturalist Steve Irwin with an alligator at the San Francisco Zoo in 2002

Irwin, who became famous for his work on the TV series Crocodile Hunter, received the fatal blow of a stingray in area of ​​the heart. The fish attacked Steve Irwin during filming while he was above it.

The cameraman followed Steve Irwin and filmed the stingray attack.

In 2016, a stingray killed a professional diver at the aquarium. Diver Philip Chen, 62, was in charge of a team of divers at the time of the stingray attack, which was taking marine life from the closed Singapore Aquarium.

Philip Chen has courted the inhabitants of the aquarium since it opened in 1991. After being attacked by a stingray, Chen was taken to hospital, where he died from his injuries.

Several shark attacks have been reported in Australia in recent months, so Tasmania State Police have emphasized that the incident at Lauderdale Beach has nothing to do with sharks.

About how we swam with stingrays. – Around the world “Gospel”. St. Petersburg

To the list of numerous exotic incidents that I have experienced, I can add one more thing: I was bitten by a stingray. In fact, a stingray bite is associated more with a prick with the tip of the tail, which these animals can inflict in case of mortal danger – such an injection is very painful, poison gets into the wound and the consequences can be very unpleasant. But the stingray did not prick me with its tail in a fit of self-defense, it bit me with its teeth in the process of getting to know each other, and it was a manual stingray, fed by people and gladly swimming up to them to “talk”, and especially to feed.I talked to the stingray, but I didn’t feed it, so he decided that I was cunningly hiding the food somewhere in my hand, stuck it in there and tried to take what was due from me with his teeth. But instead of a piece of fish, the animal bumped into my finger, the stingray slightly clenched its teeth, and making sure that it was not a fish at all, but my finger, unclenched them again. I just had time to oyk. It felt as if a little dog had tapped my finger. Not to blood, but so as to slightly intimidate.

Actually the stingray was great.Its wings vibrated gracefully, its movements were elegant and precise. The forms of this ancient creature are not similar to the structure of any other animal, his mouth is located somewhere on the chest, but to suck food into himself he can use his ears.

On the island of Mooreya there is a special place where over the past thirty years stingrays have been cared for, nurtured and fed. The result is that graceful animals allow people to approach them, or, more precisely, they themselves swim up to them, expecting to be given a piece of raw fish.

A little further away from the fearless rays, sharks swim, whose torpedo-shaped bodies seem to be ideally suited for a swift dash on prey. But the sharks living here are quite peaceful – they keep a respectful distance of several meters from people, although, according to Christian, the captain of the boat that brought us here, they can swim up to eighty centimeters. These are small meter sharks, maximum one and a half meter sharks, to observe the verified movements of which is a real pleasure.

Ksenia and Polina swam for the first time surrounded by so many sharks, located at a distance of several meters from them. Sharks on the Tuamotu were much more fearful and did not allow people to come close to the distance, the same ones scurried between us, knowing that they were not in any danger. “Well, were you afraid of sharks?” I asked Polina. “Well, quite a bit,” my daughter answered courageously, “when I saw that I had to swim to the shark to get closer to you, I said to myself:“ Polina, you must overcome your fear, ”and swam.”And Ksyusha even decided to stroke the stingray on the back – he was less interested in children than in adults, striving to swim up to me and start ransacking for food.

Our friends, Jean Michel and Natasha www.manatao.com, were the owners of the catamaran and the boat, on which they arrange regular tourist trips to such exotic places, to watch the stingrays. Their company is called Moorea Dream Yacht, and the comfortable modern sailing catamaran Lagoon “Manatao” used for charters.The business that Jean-Michel is actively developing has already proven itself: tourists are always satisfied after such miracles as swimming with rays and sharks, as well as a visit to the underwater town of Tiki.

In the two and a half hours that a standard trip takes, we have visited three places. In two we swam with sea creatures: stingrays and small fish, which took, or rather pulled out pieces of fish directly from the bather’s hands, and in the third we looked at the Polynesian statues of Tiki lying at the bottom.

A few years ago, a sculptor decided to create a small underwater plaza decorated with Polynesian-style statues depicting local gods. He created eight statues and lowered them to the seabed at a depth of two meters. Transparent water allows you to see the sculptural pattern slightly covered with underwater moss even from the surface, and those who want to swim around with a mask have a chance to make out the lines and shapes. Polina was happy to tell the admiring audience in Russian and French how she dived and touched the statue.Everyone clinked their tongues and showed every admiration for Polina’s swimming skills.

The sculptor who created these statues carried out an action of diving them to the bottom of the sea in order to perpetuate the events of the days gone by, when Christian missionaries who arrived in Polynesia threw statues of local gods into the water – after all, they brought a new God here, and from now on it was only necessary to pray his.

In addition to the trip to the slopes and tiki sculptures, MOOREA DREAM YACHT offers a sailing trip on a catamaran along the beautiful coast of Moorea.We are pleased to recommend to everyone the company MOOREA DREAM YACHT http://www.manatao.com/, owned by our friends.
As for the biting stingrays, it was not so painful, besides, I think my case is rather exotic, but in general, there is nothing to paw on the animal, if I didn’t bring food.

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The diver told why stingrays attack in Odessa and what to do when they meet – PHOTO

Stingrays in Odessa occupied the coast and often sting people.Paramedics at Coastal Health Points report 048 of increased incidence of stingray attacks on beachgoers.

Our journalist talked to the diver and biologist Vladislav Balinsky about what kind of creatures they are, how aggressive they are and what to do if you meet a stingray while swimming.

What kind of animal is this?

There are two types of stingrays in the Black Sea – the sea fox and the sea cat (stingray stingray). Those stingrays, which we are talking about in the water area of ​​the Odessa Gulf, are a sea cat.Previously, it was recorded much less often, since it is a deep-sea fish.

Odessa beaches are limited by traverses and breakwaters, and, as a rule, the slopes did not swim over these obstacles. Recently, I personally see them quite often, the first time was about three years ago. Why do stingrays appear on beaches? This is due to global changes, changes in the ecology of the Black Sea. In the Black Sea, the number of zooplankton and, accordingly, fish increases significantly, especially in the northwestern part.Therefore, predators such as stingrays began to be recorded more often on the coast.

As for Odessa, I observed a group of stingrays for a long time in the area of ​​the “Dog” beach on the left side of Dolphin. Since I actively “communicate” with animals, I was also stung by a stingray in my hand. Although most often the injection is in the leg.

How does he react to a person and what happens during an attack?

These fish are very calm. The danger is if they are in shallow water, and a person can simply step on without seeing him in troubled water.Stingrays are able to change color and adapt to the surrounding background, therefore they are not always noticeable in the water.

This fish can reach large sizes, and specimens of 15 kilograms are found in the Black Sea. Stingrays, along with sharks, are one of the most ancient cartilaginous fish, it is dangerous precisely because of the thorn at the end of the tail.

In a calm state, this spike is in the fold of the tail, in case of danger it becomes perpendicular to the tail and the stingray can, with its tail with a spike, make such whip-like blows, quite strong and well-aimed.The spike is double-edged on both sides, and has notches on it.

After the blow, a lacerated wound remains on the body, sometimes the thorn breaks off inside the body. The main problem is that there is also a groove in the thorn filled with mucus, which contains a fairly strong poison. This substance is of a protein nature and causes a strong pain reaction.

A stingray injection is quite painful in itself, and its consequences can cause various complications.

READ ALSO Children have been throwing up since Tuesday, but they said to be silent: how they concealed the infection in the Odessa kindergarten

Where can you meet him?

Particularly dangerous areas of the coast are shallow areas where a person can walk along the bottom for a long time.The most likely time to meet a stingray on Odessa beaches is early morning or evening. I would recommend that a person who enters the water on a deserted beach try to make noise, clap, and make sounds while walking. And it is advisable to swim as soon as possible, not to delay walking along the coastline, and then a meeting with a stingray is impossible, because a stingray is a bottom animal. Only if a person steps on it is a blow possible.

What if a stingray stung?

If possible, it is necessary to suck or try to squeeze out this poison.And hot water helps, of such a temperature that it was hard to endure, pour it over the injection site. The poison is of a protein nature, at high temperatures it is denatured, and it is deactivated. It is necessary to take pain relievers and antihistamines. And call an ambulance.

Although from my own experience I can say that hot water helps quite well, but it all depends on the size of the injury and individual tolerance. Antihistamines are essential to avoid anaphylactic shock.

In Odessa fish markets, stingrays are often sold. Is it allowed to catch them?

Those stingrays that I saw, they are small, 200-250 grams, this animal is not a rare or endangered species, recently it has been actively used for food. The nutritional value of this fish is not great, but, nevertheless, fishermen catch it. As a rule, a stingray is caught in a nets with a flounder. This fish is not bad for fish soup. She has a slippery skin surface covered with a lot of mucus. This mucus, when cooked, gives the broth and density of the fish soup.Someone is frying stingrays.

READ ALSO NATO ships in Odessa and a cruise ship at the seaport

danger that you can not suspect

The blue-spotted stingray lives in the Red Sea. He likes to lie on the bottom next to the shore and I myself have repeatedly swam over him. But I never suspected that he could be dangerous.

Meet the stingray

These stingrays belong to the family of cartilaginous fish of the stingray order. In Latin, it is called Taeniura Lymma.These rays live in all warm seas and oceans. They lead a sedentary lifestyle and during the day they simply lie on the bottom of the sea, sometimes they bury themselves in the sand. Stalkers love to be close to the coast and, in addition to the sea, they also swim into mangroves and even rivers if they flow into the southern seas.

Photo from the site redseafoto.ru

It is easy to meet stingrayers near the beaches of Sharm el-Sheikh or Hurghada. Personally, I have never seen very large stingrays of this species. Ichthyologists claim that their disc sometimes reaches a diameter of 70 cm – no more.The stingrays feed on worms, crayfish, shrimps. They even have teeth that look like a plate. These teeth are so strong that they often even open the shells of molluscs.

Photo from the site redseafoto.ru

Stingray stingrays are viviparous. Embryos develop in eggs in the womb, and then they are born already formed. As soon as they are born, they immediately begin to lead the usual way of life of stingrays: they sink to the bottom and feed on small shrimps, crustaceans, and mollusks.

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This stingray species is sensitive to electric fields. They use this ability to hunt. Using electroreceptors, they locate the victim.

Why was this stingray so named?

The tail of the stingray ends with a sharp, laterally flattened thorn, which can reach a length of up to 37 cm. The thorn has jagged edges along the edges. Defending, the stingray uses its tail as a whip and strikes the victim, tearing the flesh with a thorn.The force of the blow of the stingray tail is such that it can pierce thick leather shoes or human clothing with a spike. I must say in defense of the stingrays that they never attack themselves, but only defend themselves. Therefore, if you do not touch them or accidentally step on them, they will not harm a person.

Photo from redseafoto.ru

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Stingray stingrays are poisonous

In addition to being a dangerous cold weapon, it also releases poison, which is in special glands.Once in the victim’s blood, the stingray poison:

  • causes severe, spasmodic pains;
  • sharply reduces blood pressure, which is manifested by weakness, chills, vomiting, loss of consciousness;
  • greatly increases the heart rate;
  • leads to muscle paralysis.

If a person gets hit by a stingray-stingray under water, he will not be able to swim himself, because the symptoms of intoxication develop quickly. And thus, the impact of the stingray can be fatal.

It was from the blow of the stingray-stingray that the famous naturalist and TV presenter Steve Irwin died.

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The poison of even a dead stingray is a serious danger. The North American Indians knew about this property and used the stingray spike itself, containing poison, as a spearhead or arrowhead.

First aid for intoxication with stingray poison

Let’s first find out what categorically CANNOT be done .

So, in case of intoxication with stingray poison , DO NOT :

  1. Try to jerk the thorn out or make an incision to pull it out.
  2. Do not cauterize the wound with iodine or other alcohol-containing agents.
  3. Do not take alcohol, as this will increase the blood flow and the poison will spread faster throughout the body.
  4. Do not wash the wound with potassium permanganate or other oxidizing agents such as lemon juice.

How can you provide first aid to the victim?

  1. Suck the poison out of the wound. It is especially advisable to do this in the first 10 minutes, after the patient has been hit with a thorn.The mouth must be rinsed with clean water or potassium permanganate. Naturally, when aspirating, the poison must be spat out.
  2. After that, you need to rinse the wound well with water, you can even sea. This will reduce the concentration of the poison.
  3. Carefully remove the thorn. In this case, you must first submit it forward, and then – scroll.
  4. A tourniquet should be placed above the wound to slow the spread of the poison through the bloodstream. In this case, the injured limb must be immersed in hot water for 30 minutes. It is also recommended to add 3% magnesium sulfate to the water. REMEMBER that the tourniquet must be loosened and then tightened again every 10 minutes to avoid pinching the vessels.

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