Stingrays are one of the most feared creatures in the ocean, but undeservedly so. They are shy and reclusive, usually choosing to avoid coming close to humans. They lie flat on the bottom camouflage themselves in the sand to avoid detection. They will generally swim away from scuba divers, although they do occasionally become curious if the diver is non-threatening.
This scuba diver made a very slow and cautious approach and was rewarded with a look right into the eyes of this massive stingray. The divers in the background were equally thrilled to get such a close look at one of the most majestic creatures under the sea. As it turns and swims away, it gives a close look at the tail that is equipped with a sharp and venomous barb, used for self defense. This barb can penetrate even the tough skin of a shark if the sting ray lashes out to defend itself. An unwary swimmer who steps on a stingray may also be injured, but stingrays never attack and do not hunt prey with their barbs. Any human injuries documented have occurred due to careless behaviour on the part of the humans.
A famous incident with the world renowned biologist and animal advocate, Steve Irwin, left people fearing these docile animals. That was an unfortunate and tragic accident that had nothing to do with aggression on the part of the stingray.
Stingrays are highly intelligent animals that play a beneficial role in the health of the reefs and ocean ecosystems. Fear and misunderstanding leads to unnecessary killing of stingrays and an overall loss for all concerned.