In this image, thousands of stingrays migrate towards their summer feeding grounds. The rays pictured here are poisonous golden cow-nose rays. The poison carried by these majestic creatures, which is transferred via the stinger located on the ray’s tail, can be life threatening if it comes into contact with humans. The stinger itself comes in the form of a razor-sharp spine that grows from the creature’s tail. This whip-like structure can reach almost 15 inches (38cm).
One such stinger caused the death of famed wildlife expert, Steve Irwin, in 2006. However, such cases are rare. Stingrays are more likely to flee than fight, and generally only attack if they feel that they have no other options. Typically, humans are stung because they accidentally step on the ray (stingrays often conceal themselves on the ocean floor). When a sting occurs, there is usually nothing more than a slight, bee-like sting and possible infection. But ultimately, the amount of trauma depends on where the wound occurred. Irwin’s case was particularly unlucky, as the ray’s stingerhttp://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/09/04/australia.irwin.stingray.reut/index.html" target="_blank"> pierced his heart.