A free thinker in the Heartland...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Don't play with Stingrays

Jerry Labella tells us how dangerous a Stingray is.

"What you see is what you get" is an expression that doesn’t always apply. This is true of the stingray that seemingly has no visible barb stinger. But don’t be deceived! According to Dr. Bob Shipp, Ph.D. professor of the University of Alabama and authority on fishes of the Gulf of Mexico, the barb may be concealed within a sheathlike tail wrapping, depending on its size and species. The barb, or spine, according to Dr. Shipp, can grow back if broken off, and is actually a modified scale, armored with recurved serrations that are as sharp as razors. The stingray has the ability to whip its tail up over its back and strike a victim. During the strike the tail sheath covering instantly moves back to expose the barb, located about one third the way down its tail (bluntnose and Atlantic species). In some instances it can whip its tail around a victim to exert a more powerful blow.

Never underestimate the penetrating ability of a stingray’s barb, even on the smallest of stingrays. The stingray’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.

According to Dr. Shipp, when a stingray strikes, it either removes its barb entirely, or breaks it off inside of the victim. When this occurs, doctors must probe the wound to make sure all particles have been removed, so the injury will not result in gangrene. In cases where the barb deeply penetrated, the wound must be enlarged to make sure it is properly cleaned.

Aside from the pain and serious laceration caused by the razor-sharp barb, which can sever arteries and possibly an Achilles tendon, a poison is released that can produce a drastic decrease in blood pressure, increased pulse, dizziness and possible shock.