The Southern Stingray is commonly found in the waters of the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, or as far north as New Jersey and as far south as Brazil. They have large, agile, disk-shaped bodies with long whip-like tails that contain one or two venomous spines at the base.
Though it’s a known fact that a reality TV personality and wildlife expert was inadvertently killed a few years ago by a ray who pierced him in the chest with his tail spine, all of the stingrays we’ve ever encountered have been incredibly eager to get away from us and tend to stay buried in the sand unless threatened, and/or swim far away from divers.
The ray pictured here was no exception. We saw him as we were floating just off of the reef over the sand, getting ready to complete another wonderful shore dive in Bonaire. This guy was nestled in the sand, and my buddy saw his eyeballs stir and follow his every movement as we swam over him.
As we slowly circled back to get a better look at this gentle giant, he fluttered his body and stirred the sand as he swam to get away from us. My buddy shot this amazing photo of that process.