Beachgoers on and East Yorkshire beach were recently surprised when they came across creatures that looked like stingrays. Reports were coming in that the beach at Bridlington was full of sting rays but pictures of the same showed that the fish were diamond shaped and had a colouring that looked light-brown but bordered on pink. The fish also had long tails as well as white spots on their wings.
Experts have noted that the rays look more like Thornback Rays, taking into account the colouring. Thornback Rays can be found in both the UK and Ireland and are known to favour muddy, shingle and clear sandy seabeds. However, cases of coming across these at the coast are rare. Thornback rays are more likely to stay in water that is more than 100 metres deep according to the British Sea Fishing website although they are also known to come to shallower water near the show within range of sea anglers. Thornbacks are also described by the website as being near-threatened.
It’s not unusual for anything that even closely resembles a stingray to be treated with a lot of panic. While they are not aggressive and will not attack humans, they can be dangerous when provoked such as when you accidentally step on one. The stingray’s tail consists of venomous spines and these can cause a great deal of damage under the right conditions. When threatened, a stingray will typically look to swim away but if stepped on or attached by a predator, they whip up the stinger in the tail. If stung by a sting ray, some of the things you can expect include, local trauma, swelling and pain. The venom can also cause cramping of the muscles and there is also the risk of infection due to bacteria. Although rare, there have been cases of humans being fatally stung by stingrays including the well-known, Steve Irwin who died after the stinger pierced his thoracic wall.
There are several ways that you can avoid getting stung by a sting ray. Sliding your feet through the sand rather than taking steps reduces the possibility of getting stung by one. It’s unlikely that a sting ray will attach if a person merely brushes against it. You can also throw a few rocks in murky water or stump the bottom so as to scare them away before you pass through.