Sunday, September 10, 2006
Facts About Stingrays:
1) They're soft. Almost like you'd imagine velvet to be if it were underwater. (If you have felt wet velvet, however, disregard that image. Wet velvet is kind of... slimey.)
2) Yes, those things that look like wings? They are wings. "Pectoral wings," to be exact. Not fins. Their swimming has often been described as looking like "flying." Very graceful. Like ocean angels.
3) Stingrays have a razor sharp barb that grows at the end of their tail, much like a fingernail does on humans. This barb is only for protection, and is rarely, if ever, used for attack. Only, I don't know, someone who dangles their 2 month old son in front of a crocodile. But since no one is stupid enough to do that, I think we're safe.
4) Their eyes are on top of their bodies, but their mouths are on the underside. If you're ever somewhere tourist-y and stingray-y, you can go on a tour where the guides (hippie college students) will take you to swim with them (you have to sign a release before you go) and you can even feed them. You hold the chopped bit of squid underneath the ray, and it vacuums it out of your hand.
I wish I ate by vacuum.
5) More than 70 species of rays exist. From quite small - a few inches in diameter - to more than 20 feet in diameter. Frankly? A 20-foot stingray? Kind of scares me. But I also kind of have dreams about using it as a blanket...
6) Stingray leather is has been used since ancient times, and is still used for pretty purses and shoes today. But unlike other leathers, I think I'd be sad if I had a stingray purse. I wouldn't be able to use it. No matter how pretty it was.
Ok, if it was really pretty, I'd probably be able to overlook it.