Stingrays in OBX

I am sure that a lot people have been to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. It is a popular destination for annual family vacations. My family heads down to Corolla, North Carolina for a week or two during our summer vacations. But we are not the only ones because thousands of other families visit the Outer Banks as well.

However, I am sure that most people do not expect to see stingrays in the water. I know I was not expecting to see massive gray clouds of potentially dangerous animals swimming within five measly feet of me. I remember the moment I saw the animals, I was out considerably deep with my uncle, and we were boogie-boarding. As soon as he saw the stingrays, he grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the water. The stingrays are usually low in the water, hidden in the sand to catch their food, but not that day. The stingrays had decided to swim in the massive waves, they looked like they were almost flying.


For the rest of the day, the stingrays hung out in the waves right by the shore, which scared most of my family. After our stingray incident, I was the only one to go back into the water that day.

So, as I was trying to think of a new topic for this week’s passion blog post, I decided on this little personal story so that I had a reason to look up and figure out why exactly those stingrays were swimming in the waves. Here is what I found out.


I found out that the year (2011) that my family and I saw the stingrays was a popular year for stingrays in the Outer Banks. In fact, my family was actually fortunate because there were several cases of humans accidently stepping on the OBX stingrays and getting stung by the stingrays’ poisonous barb on the end of their tails. Also, a little fun fact, the only way to truly heal a stingray sting is very hot water because the hot water neutralizes the toxin in the stingrays’ poison. Apparently it is very painful, so try to avoid getting stung if possible.

Olivia Burrus, a curator at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, looked into why there were so many stingrays in the summer of 2011. Unfortunately, there isn’t much evidence or reasoning behind the increase in the amount of stingrays in 2011. The only logically reasons would be the abnormally warmer weather that summer, or simply the stingrays working on a certain cycle.

Would you be scared or excited if you saw some stingrays swimming a couple feet away from you?



3 thoughts on “Stingrays in OBX

  1. Personally, I would probably be more scared than excited if I saw stingrays in the same water I was swimming in. My family and I love going to OBX too, by the way!

  2. Obviously I am not too fond of stingrays when I have no way of knowing they’re right next to (or worse, under) me, but otherwise I think that rays are pretty cool. As far as why they are at the Outer Banks, it could be a similar reason to why there were so many sharks there this summer. Warmer water shifts their optimal breeding location north, directly into the water of the Outer Banks! Sharks and stingrays are very closely related so the guess that warm water had something to do with it makes sense to me!

  3. I really liked your post! Its was new and definitely gave me an insight on how dangerous a sting ray can possibly be. I’m glad you weren’t physically harmed by the sting ray!

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