Do the stingray shuffle

Beaches were closed in Loch Arbour today and in Spring Lake yesterday due to an “invasion” of stingrays, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Yesterday there were an estimated 50 rays in the water at Spring Lake.  Today, 15-30 rays in Loch Arbour.

Having swum with rays in the Caribbean, I didn’t know they were dangerous to humans.  Turns out I was lucky.

According to Cathleen Bester at the Florida Museum of Natual History:

Stingrays have venomous spines along or near the base of the tail. The muscular whip-like tail can be lashed about quickly in defense. Occasionally beach-goers will accidentally step on stingrays that are partially buried in the sand near the beach resulting in a painful, serious wound in the foot. Although the spines are dosed with venom, wounds are not normally lethal. However, it is still important to get medical attention as soon as possible to avoid any potential infection. Electric rays defend themselves with electrical discharge, although these charges are considered dangerous, there have been no reported human fatalities as a result of electric rays. Physicians in ancient Rome prescribed electric discharge from electric rays as a treatment for many illnesses.

How to avoid being stung by stingrays?   Other than getting the hell off of the beach, Bester says, “do the stingray shuffle” and wear shades:

Humans should do the “stingray shuffle” when walking along sandy bottoms close to the beach. The “stingray shuffle” is performed by sliding or shuffling your feet in the sand. This gives any stingrays in the vicinity enough warning that they are able to swim away. Also, polarized glasses will assist in seeing stingrays in shallow waters. If you catch a stingray on a fishing line, be sure to cut the line and release the animal without handling it to avoid any potential injury.

I suppose its good news, from an environmental point of view, that we have sting rays in our Jersey waters.   I’m waiting for blowfish to come back before I really celebrate.

Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Jersey Shore | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »