I just found out that Steve Irwin has died in a freak stingray accident (from C's blog)! So, I looked it up there it was, in the news. A quote from the news story says, ""He came over the top of a stingray and the stingray's barb went up and went into his chest and put a hole into his heart.""
I am a bit shocked. Stingrays are usually very peaceful creatures and will sting as a defense, not in attack. Usually this happens when they're hidden in the sand and someone steps on them. When I lived in Tampa, I'd go to Clearwater Beach and there were times of the year when there would be schools of stingrays hanging out in the shallow waters near shore. Most people knew to shuffle as you walked so that if there was a stingray around, it would have a chance to swim away. In fact, a website on stingrays even says, "However, it should be pointed out that the sting is purely a defensive weapon only and that the "striking" action is an involuntary response rather than a conscious "attack." See
All I can imagine is that the stingray somehow got spooked and that was that. I can't even imagine what his wife and kids are going through. So sad. I'm sure many people will think that in his line, it was only a matter of time, and that could well be, but by a stingray? It's just odd. I wouldn't have been as shocked had it been an animal known to be deadly, you know, an animal with a reputation.
I just hope that people don't panic about stingrays and start harming them. They are beautiful creatures! They deserve our protection and respect. And I'm sure that Steve Irwin would have agreed.