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Stingrays: one of the most special, unique, and spectacular creatures on our planet. For those who can afford the space and the needed expertise, freshwater stingrays certainly present one of the most wanted pets ever.
They can be deadly to their humans, but they are highly intelligent and friendly at the same time. Well, if you are about to discover some cool facts about these absolutely fantastic fish, we have carefully selected the 10 most fun and interesting ones.
Also Read: Types of Freshwater Stingrays
1. Stingrays are closely Related to Sharks
Stingrays feature extremely unique body shapes and thanks to that, people often do not associate them with fish at all. However, not only they are fish, but they are also closely related to sharks.
Same as their famous predatory cousins, they too have crushing plates in their jaw. Additionally, they share the same gills and skeleton structure.
2. Ancient Greeks used their Venom as an Anesthetic
Yes, that is a fact. Ancient Greek dentists were very well aware of the power that a stingray’s stinger may hold. And they used it. Since the venom that a stingray holds in its body is protein-based rather than poisonous, it was often extracted and applied as a local anesthetic.
On the other side, ancient island inhabitants across the Pacific Ocean have been discovered to have used the stingers as a weapon. Spears with stingers attached to the very top would quickly turn into a deadly weapon for the opponents.
3. Freshwater Stingrays have the Power to Kill You, but they will probably Not
Stingrays are strong and powerful creatures with the ability to cause death to humans. However, they are often presented and perceived as aggressive and dangerous animals, when in fact they are not.
Oppositely, experts are sure when they describe them as quite friendly creatures. They love interacting with their humans, but sometimes also with other aquatic animals. And yes, of course, they are dangerous, but they rarely decide to apply their deadly weapons onto others.
Freshwater stingrays are quite timid most of their time, hiding below the sandy substrate and waiting for food to pass by. And once they get comfortable around their captive homes, they may quickly turn into playful life companions.
4. Stingrays are Amazing at Camouflage games
When a human gets stung by a freshwater stingray, most chances are that this has happened once that the human accidentally stepped onto it. And yes, they are sometimes quite difficult to spot onto the river or lake bottom, as they are utterly amazing at camouflage games.
Stingrays love spending their time underneath sand. And since they are naturally equipped with body colorations and patterns resembling to such ambiance, but also thanks to their unique flatted shape, they are often almost impossible to notice at first eyesight.
Therefore, when stepping through such habitats, be sure to do it extremely carefully, or you may otherwise risk of getting painfully stung.
5. Freshwater Stingrays have Zero Bones
Thanks to their relationship with sharks, stingrays have zero bones. In fact, their skeletons are made out of cartilage. These are extremely flexible, allowing them to move fast and gracefully even among the most difficult natural conditions. But not only. Cartilage is also extremely strong.
This ensures for freshwater stingrays actually being able to entirely crush crustaceans and mollusks with their unique jaws. Talking about flexibility and strength!
6. Their Eyesight is quite Bad
Even though stingrays make quite resourceful predators, their eyesight is quite bad. This is mostly because of their position. Since these fish have a flattened body shape, their eyes are located onto the very top, while their mouth is located on the opposite side.
This allows them to observe the environment while being buried under sand, but it does not really help them when trying to catch a pray.
Nonetheless, they compensate for this with overly powerful smell and hearing senses. But not only. Just as their shark cousins, stingrays have the natural capability of using electroreception.
7. Freshwater Stingrays can be Dangerous even after Dying
Stingrays produce their protein-based venom only while they are alive. However, such venom can remain for a while in their stingers if they have not been used previously.
Handling a dead stingray can cause pain if not handled with extreme caution. Although such cases are extremely rare and can be easily avoided, there still are a few of such cases being reported over the years.
8. Stingrays can Jump
Observing freshwater stingrays in their natural habitats is an utterly amazing and unforgettable life experience. From the mesmerizing swimming dance which they perform thanks to their unique body shape and gracefulness, they are also agile jumpers. Not all species do this, but they certainly have the ability to.
Some stingrays can jump out of the water as high as 6 feet, causing spectacular sceneries to the eyes of the observer. What a dance!
9. Freshwater Stingrays are more Venomous when compared to Saltwater ones
Although the reasons hiding behind such facts are still to be fully researched and understood, recent investigations have shown that freshwater stingrays are more venomous when compared to saltwater ones.
The venomous level of a freshwater stingray is known to be influenced by the age and sex of the animal. Young females, therefore, can be far more dangerous when compared to older male specimens.
10. Baby Stingrays require No Parental Care
As soon as they come to life, baby stingrays look as miniature versions of their parents. And thanks to their mouth position, they adorably look as they have smiley faces from the very beginning. Such babies are fully developed and perfectly capable of surviving on their own. They can both feed as well as protect themselves.
Some species, however, still do take care of their little ones for a couple of months after birth. These include the freshwater whip ray, where the mother protects her babies until they grow to juvenile size.Freshwater Stingrays