Ambergris Caye Caye Caulker HELP! Visitor Center Businesses Lodging

Topic Options
#217857 - 01/09/04 11:06 AM stingrays on caye caulker
sarab Offline
I just want to share an experience I had on Caye Caulker while I was there over the holidays. I hope that people who are traveling to the Caye will keep this in mind and be careful and prepared..

On Chrismas Day, 2003, I had the unfortunate experience to step on a stingray and be ‘stung’ in the ankle/foot area. When stepped on, the tail of the stingray (which is equipped with a barb (or barbs) and venom will snap up and puncture you. Any of you who have been to Caye Caulker know these stingrays - they are all over the place. Their bodies are about the size of a salad or dinner plate, and their coloring is mottled. They are very beautiful creatures, actually. You can usually see quite a few of them on the dock over by the Split. Anyway, apparently one of the most common mistakes that people make when wading in shallow water where rays live is in the way they walk. You are supposed to 'shuffle' slowly. That way, if there are rays burrowed invisibly under the sand, your 'shuffle' should scare the rays away before you have the misfortune to step on them.

You can look on the Internet for anecdotes about how horrible it is to be stung by one of these things. Suffice it to say that the pain was unimaginable, and in addition to the pain, I experienced a sort of hyperventilation, increased heart rate, nausea, and just plain panic. I sincerely hope that none of the readers have this experience.

However, if you do, I'd like to share with you what I have learned since this happened to me. First, despite the friendliness of the policemen and others who helped me out after this happened, they had no clue about how to treat it properly. They suggested meat tenderizer, urine, and the common things recommended for jellyfish stings. This is NOT what you are supposed to do for stingray injuries. I have since learned that you should get the injury clean as soon as possible, then immerse it in the hottest water that you can stand. Since I didn't know this, I suffered through that unbearable pain for hours. Apparently the hot water treatment denatures the protein in the venom, and if you keep your foot (or whatever body part has been stung) in the hot water, the pain will go away within 60-90 minutes. (You need to keep freshening up the hot water to keep it hot). Today it has been two weeks since my injury, and I am still having pain. In contrast, I have heard that this hot water treatment can make the person virtually pain free after an hour or two. I have also heard that adding a little bit of bleach to the water can help, but I have only heard this (and not read it anywhere).

Also, most of the websites I've checked out recommend that you get to a doctor. For one, you may have pieces of the barb or venom sack still in you (and you may need them removed and start a course of antibiotics). Also, you may need help for pain control. You also need to make sure you have an updated tetanus shot. Finally, there are reports of fatal stingray injuries due to allergic reactions or punctures to the chest. So, I think that you should take this a lot more seriously than I did and get yourself off the Caye and back into the city to a proper doctor.

So my point here is this: Caye Caulker authorities and locals are unprepared for what happened to me. Not only was the nurse's clinic not open that day, but people who really should have known better gave me well-intentioned, but incorrect advice. Due to the abundance of these rays around the Caye, pepole really need to know about this.

I had a great time on Caye Caulker despite this experience, but I do not want this to happen to anyone else. I don’t need or expect any replies to this posting, I would just appreciate if the information would get into the correct hands so that more people are informed about what to do. Ideally, everyone would shuffle when wading and this will never come up, but stingray injuries are inevitable and we need to be prepared.

#217858 - 01/09/04 12:41 PM Re: stingrays on caye caulker
you are correct. the toxin from a stingray barb is thermolabile. immersion in hot water over 100 oC for 30-45 minutes will inactivate it. as it's a proteinaceous toxin, it will denature unde high temperature, just as an egg white gets cloudy when you cook it.
the rational behind papain is that it is a cystein protease. i don't know if the primary (amino acid) structure of stingray toxin has been determined. if there are not a lot of cysteine residues critical to the activity of stingray toxin meat tenderizer (papain) may just destroy sensory neurons locally at the site of the sting and attenuate the pain felt from the sting.
sorry you did not receive first world care in the third world.

#217859 - 01/10/04 12:27 PM Re: stingrays on caye caulker
100 degrees Centigrade? That's the boiling point of water. Seems to me boiling your foot for an hour would be a lot worse than a sting ray sting!

--Lan Sluder

#217860 - 01/10/04 04:37 PM Re: stingrays on caye caulker
sorry, was in a hurry when i typed that. you get the idea though!

#217861 - 01/11/04 02:57 AM Re: stingrays on caye caulker Offline
Thank you for sharing this very important information.
Caribbean Colors Art Gallery, Caye Caulker

#217862 - 01/13/04 04:00 PM Re: stingrays on caye caulker
hjl Offline
you foot will look like a well cooked lobster after boiling it with 100 C


Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker

TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31
Who's Online
2 registered (Safecracker, 1 invisible), 52 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
18,635 Registered Members
44 Forums
63,710 Topics
461,236 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,262 @ 06/10/07 02:16 PM HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory Picture of the Day