Stingrays Very Common Along N.C. Coast

How much of a threat are stingrays along our coastal waters? That's a question you may be wondering about following the news that Steve Irwin, the man known as the "Crocodile Hunter,” died after being struck in the chest by a poisonous barb from a stingray, in Australia. Dr. Frank Schwartz, a professor with the UNC Marine Lab in Morehead City, has studied sharks and stingrays for over 40 years. He says stingrays are in fact very prevalent along the coast, specifically from April to November. A few years ago, he was stung by one in the hand. He says more commonly, beachgoers are stung in the foot, hand, arm or leg.