I heard about this story over the weekend, but chose not to blog about it until now because the weekend was pretty hectic and also, a million other people were already going to be blogging about it.
Over the weekend, “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, shown above with his family, was killed by a stingray while filming a documentary. Apparently, he came over the top of one and it used it’s defense mechanism, it’s sharp tail, to pierce him in the heart. It’s said that he immediately pulled the stinger out of his chest and died seconds later after going into cardiac arrest. I’ve heard that you have better chances of winning the lottery, than to be stung in your heart by a stingray. Others that have been stung in their arms or legs have lived to tell the tale.
Most people live under the impression that stingrays are gentle creatures, like dolphins. Most are, but I remember learning in one of my classes that their stinger is extremely poisonous and that you’d die instantly from a prick. From that point on, I stayed away from them. Most stingrays that appear in zoos or water theme parks have their stingers removed, making them safe for petting.
Irwin was in the process of taping a documentary for the Animal Planet channel, when he died. He was actually shooting some filler pieces, due to a delay in the taping of his documentary. Should his family choose, he will have a state funeral in Australia.
My first memories of the “Crocodile Hunter” are from what seems like a decade or so ago. Right on my morning television talking about and actually handling crocodiles. His antics are the foundation for the many, many current shows about people going out in to nature and getting up close and personal. But he was the original.
He once said that when he dies, people will say “I knew a croc would finally get him.” And here we sit wondering how the
“Crocodile Hunter” got killed by the tail of a stingray.
* Marine fish related to the shark
* Wingspan in different species ranges from 10 inches to 7 feet
* Barb can be up to 12 inches
* Lie buried in sand, and normally very shy and non-aggressive
* Eat worms, mollusks and other invertebrates
* Possess flexible tails armed, in most species, with saw-edged, venomous spines
* Uses barb in self-defense when startled, threatened or cornered; venom causes excruciating pain, and serrated barb damages tissue when pulled out; large rays can exert enough force to drive their tail spines into a wooden boat
* Most stings occur in shallow, coastal waters when swimmers step on a stingray
* Fatal stings extremely rare, with only 17 recorded stingray deaths in Australia since 1969
If stingrays are near:
* Shuffle feet in sand to scare stingrays away
* If stung, soak affected area in extremely hot water to destroy venom
* Seek medical attention immediately