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Stingray

  One of the biggest fallacies is that stingrays attack people anytime they're encountered. However, evidence shows that stingrays  are not categorized as aggressive creatures and will avoid being stepped whenever possible. The epitome of this is seen in what takes place with rays and waders at Stingray City, Grand Cayman Island in the Caribbean Sea. Here vacationers can actually feed and swim with un captured stingrays that have become accustomed to people. According to Stingray City tour guides, the rays first established a relationship many years ago with commercial fishermen who regularly fed them. As a result, the stingrays, expecting to be fed, literally herd up and approach any boat that anchors nearby.
  The stingray is common in all tropical, subtropical, warm, and temperate regions. It usually favors sheltered water and will burrow into sand with only eyes and tail exposed. It has a bat-like shape and a long tail. Approximately 1,800 stingray attacks are reported annually in the U.S. Most attacks occur when waders inadvertently step on a ray, causing it to lash out defensively with its tail. The spine is located near the vase of the tail. Wounds are either of the laceration or puncture type and are extremely painful. The wound appears swollen and pale with a blue rim. Secondary wound infections are common. Systemic symptoms may be present and can include fainting, nausea, vomiting, sweating, respiratory difficulty, and cardiovascular collapse.
  In shallow waters which favor stingray habitation, shuffle feet on the bottom and probe with a stick to alert the rays and chase them away.
Many fish may use venom as a form of defense. Most venomous fish deliver the toxins through the use of a spine. Venomous spines are found in a wide variety of fish including stingrays, chimaeras, scorpion fishes, catfishes, toadfishes, rabbit fishes, and stargazers. Venomous spines can have poison glands along the grove of the spine, as with stingrays, or at the base of the spine as in some catfish. While humans can be stung by a multitude of fishes, few species are life threatening.
  Stingrays if poked, prodded or even smacked on their backs with an object, normally will not retaliate but flee off to safety. Likewise, if you are shuffling your feet and happen to nudge a stingray that is lying on the bottom, its natural response is to either beeline out of the way or circle behind. Though the stingray’s reaction in both cases is to avoid being stepped on, the latter maneuver can poses a problem if the wader for some reason unintentionally steps backwards Never underestimate the penetrating ability of a stingray's barb, even on the smallest of rays. The ray's barb is designed to penetrate virtually all sorts of dense materials, including wood and leather. And as unbelievable as it may seem, it's been documented that large stingrays are able to drive a barb through a boat's wooden planks or completely through a persons arm or leg.
  If you are injured by a ray you should promptly seek expert medical help. In the meantime:
1) Rinse the wound thoroughly with fresh water. Use ocean water only if no fresh water is available.
2) Soak the wound in water that is as hot as you can tolerate, though not so hot that it burns your skin (110 degrees Fahrenheit or 44 degrees Celsius). Normally this will ease the pain within about 30 to 90 minutes. Repeat the hot-water soaking if pain returns.
3) Carefully search for and remove any pieces of stinger or its sheath (protective covering). Scrub the injured area with soap and water. Then pour lots of fresh water over it.
4) Do not tape or sew the wound closed unless this is needed to stop a lot of bleeding.
5) If the wound shows signs of infection, you'll need to take antibiotics. A tetanus shot may also be needed.

 





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