Salty Bum wrote:question about Rays - i know the tips of there tails have barbs and is like a knife but does it have poison in it - seems every wound i see looks like the flesh is being eaten away by infection and I was wondering if that is from a poison from the Ray - thanks
Barb is about halfway back on the tail-not at the tip, it is a serrated barb such that when it hits you and buries in your flesh, it breaks off of the rays' tail rather than come out of your flesh and it has a toxin or poison of some sort. Water as hot as you can stand it as soon as possible after getting hit seems to leach out some of the poison and lessen the pain and, so I've heard, risk of infection/inflammation.
As far as where most get stuck, this is what statistics bear out - most stingray hits are to the top of the foot or ankle. Yes there have been those who stumbled and landed on one, but even then, unless it is a big ray, their tails (half the length of their tail is where the barb is) aren't usually large enough to go any higher than the ankle.
The worst story I ever heard (and it was soon thereafter I bought my first pair of Everlast Ray-Boots), involved both the big size and the stumble and it was from a seasoned guide who had been shuffling his entire adult life. He shuffled into a pothole, stumbled and his next step was onto a mammoth stingray, so big that the strike was into the thickest part of his calf. The barb was so big that, before it broke off, the ray had dragged him off of his feet and a yard or two in one direction - he was wet from head to toe when he stood up again. But that was not a ray following him; he stumbled forward. I have heard stories about people stepping backwards to set the hook on a fish and step on one that was trailing them, so there must be something to that theory.