Hanging Out with Stingrays

Naples, Florida Pier, Photo by Bailey Rapp from Unsplash

Hanging Out with Stingrays

I was visiting the pelicans on Naples Pier;

the sun was bright, and the water was clear,

I saw a school of stingrays far below,

swimming in The Gulf of Mexico.

Stingrays are flat fish with “wings”

and long, skinny tails with barbs that sting.

Swimming in schools, they stir up sand

to find their dinner of oysters and clams.

Stingray, Photo by Fernando Jorge from Unsplash

I wanted to join the rays…what a fun thing to do!

“Don’t step on them, and they won’t sting you,”

a nearby fisherman advised.

“Shuffle your feet and they’ll move aside.”

I shuffled my feet, and I stayed with the rays

’till the sun was setting at the end of the day.

Hanging out with stingrays was a lot of fun…

I was tired and sunburned, but I didn’t get stung.

Stingray Swimming, Photo by Jakob Owens from Unsplash

I learned that serious injury from stingrays is rare,

but incidents sometimes do occur.

Although I won’t overreact if I encounter a stingray,

I won’t wade with schools of rays like I did that day.

Stingrays in touch tanks have their barbs removed.

Some stingray encounters are sting-free too.

Stingrays enjoy being petted and like to play.

I’d hang out with stingrays at aquariums any day!

Reprinted from Hanging Out with Wild Animals III

Environmentally-themed book series for ages eight to twelve


Copyright© 2019 by Cheryl Batavia

39 Comments

    1. Chief, Thank you for reading and commenting on this poem. Yes, stingrays are beautiful! The first time I ever saw them I was eleven years old, visiting Florida with my family, and I have never forgotten. I am very glad you enjoyed the poem. All the best! Cheryl

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  1. Yeah, for the stingrays Cheryl… we have a cove at a nearby surf beach called ‘Stingray Bay’.. the local surf fishermen seem to get a lot a stingray’s tangled in their lines..

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  2. What a fun experience you must have had.
    My niece got stung by a stingray a week ago. She is only 14 and was learning how to surf. She is a tough girl but the poor thing cried for long.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Msdedeng, I am so sorry about your niece getting stung. I hope she is OK! Yes, I did enjoy wading with the rays, but I would not do it again. I don’t think rays attack people. I think when they are stepped on or bumped, the stinging is an involuntary reflex., That, of course, does not make it feel any better if you get stung, and I would rather not get stung! I hope the warnings in the last verse will be enough that people will be cautious. Thank you for your kind comments. Take care, Cheryl

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    1. Radhika, thank you for your comment. Yes, it was a great experience! Some cruise ship destinations have “stingray adventures” and I understand the stingrays there are very tame. There is always a slight risk, I think. Take care. Cheryl

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  3. This seems fun Cheryl. Glad you spend time with ray fishes. They are adorable. And you have put in a lot of information about them too. I so wish to scuba dive now. Though am afraid of water. 😀

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    1. Kritika, when I was younger, I used to snorkel, and I have never had time to pass so quickly or enjoyed myself more than when I was snorkeling. I am sure scuba diving is even more enjoyable. I wish for you that you overcome your fears of the water and fulfill your dreams. You only have one life! All the best! Cheryl

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Markus+Micah! I am glad you enjoyed the poem. If you decide to participate in a stingray experience, please exercise caution, as there is a slight risk. Many zoos and aquariums have touch tanks where you can safely pet stingrays. All the best! Cheryl

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  4. what a lovely event – much appreciate your sharing with us, Cheryl. just finished reading Diana Nyad’s autobio of her swim, “Find a Way,” from Cuba to FL — a great read that perhaps you’d enjoy…

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    1. Thank you, da-AL, for taking the time to read and comment. Glad you enjoyed the poem. I remember the news stories about Diana Nyad’s swim and photos of her swollen face. She was stung by jellyfish, right? Thank you for recommending the book. All the best! Cheryl

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Loved the poem and how you worked in your very special stingray experience. We were snorkeling in Hawaii once and were in awe of their grace and beauty as they moved through the water with ease. Thanks for sharing your experience so creatively.

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  6. 3bones, Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I am envious of your experience snorkeling with stingrays. Although I snorkeled when I was younger, I never saw stingrays. It must be thrilling to see them from that perspective! Have a great Sunday! Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

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