There are many different kinds of fish found all around the world. This lesson will teach you about one kind of fish called stingrays, where they live, what they eat and some cool facts about them.

What is a Stingray?

Imagine walking through shallow ocean water near the beach. The sand feels funny between your toes as you shuffle along, when suddenly you see something move underwater. Its body is flat with a long, skinny tail, and it seems to have wings that let it glide through the water, away from where you are standing. Soon it is gone, but you won’t soon forget what you saw! It was a stingray!

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Stingrays
Swimming Stingrays

A Stingray is a flat fish with at least one sharp spine under its long, skinny tail. Stingrays use their sharp spines to protect themselves from animals who want to eat them.

They may have one or two spines that can be jagged, like a steak knife, and some even have venom, or poison, under their tails that is deadly for humans and other animals! The venom gets into their victim when they stab them with their spines.

If they are in danger, they will lift their tail and stab at their enemy with the jagged spines! Although they have a deadly way to protect themselves, stingrays usually just swim away if they feel threatened.

Stingrays, like their shark relatives, don’t have bones like you do. They have cartilage (pronounced CAR-tuh-lij) in their body that gives them their shape. Cartilage is the same thing that gives your nose and outer ear its shape!

What do Stingrays Eat?

Stingrays have a mouth, nose holes and gills on the bottom of their flat body, but their eyes are on the top! They don’t really need their eyes to find food like we do, though, because they mostly use their sense of smell and special organs around their mouth that can detect electrical charges from their next meal!

Bottom View of Stingray
Bottom View of Stingray

Stingrays are carnivores, which means they only eat meat, including shrimp and crab. Some of their favorite meals, like clams, oysters and mussels, come in shells. They have special crushing teeth in their jaws that can break the shells so they can get to the tasty meat inside!

Where do Stingrays Live?

Most stingrays live in saltwater, like the ocean, but some live in freshwater, like rivers. They are usually found in comfortably warm ocean water and can live to be 15 to 25 years old.

Stingrays
Stingrays

There are different kinds of stingrays, but their color is similar to the sand where they live. They spend a lot of time buried in that sand, hiding from animals, like sharks, that want to eat them.

When they do swim, some use fins that look like flapping wings, and others look as if they are doing the wave with their entire body, like you might see the crowd do at a football game. Some stingrays even stop by places where certain fish live so they can eat the pests off the stingray’s body, like taking a car through the car wash!

Lesson Summary

Stingrays are flat fish with at least one sharp spine under its long, skinny tail. They use their spines for protection, and some have deadly venom, too. Stingrays live in saltwater and freshwater and are carnivores, which means they only eat meat.