Rays in Florida – Dangers for Humans
Rays are shy animals that do not deliberately attack humans. However, there is one species that can be dangerous for beachgoers:
Stingrays populate the entire coast of Florida, where they burrow into the sand lurking for prey. When they feel threatened, these fish can sting with their barbed tail. This is not only painful and causes a deep, bleeding wound. Stingrays are also venomous. Although getting stung in the leg or foot is rarely enough to kill an adult person, the venom can cause allergy sufferers to have an anaphylactic shock, which can lead to organ failure.
Still more dangerous are stings in the abdominal and heart area – as can be seen in the most prominent ray victim: the “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irvin.
Luckily, you can avoid this risk by making your presence known to rays before they sting. Floridians call this the “Stingray Shuffle”: When walking into the water, gently push your feet forward, whirl up a lot of sand and avoid big steps. This way, the ray knows that danger is approaching and has the chance to escape.
Should you see a group of rays coming towards you while swimming, it is best to stay calm. Avoid hasty movements, let the fish swim by and slowly “shuffle” out of the water.
Most stingrays can be found in the summer months when water temperatures reach their maximum. Particularly affected are the beaches of Clearwater, Cocoa Beach and Destin. However, all beaches in Florida can harbor stingrays, so you should always reckon with the animals.