Stingrays at Whitsundays Hill Inlet
Hill Inlet, with its stunning diversity of wildlife, its spectacular shifting sands and its crystal blue water, is a popular spot for sightseeing, beach trips and nature walks. One of Hill Inlet’s less known attractions is its underwater wildlife, which include small reef sharks and stingrays, which flit through the shallow water, clearly visible from the surface.
The stingray, related to the shark, is a flattened fish that resembles a round flat body with a long tail. Their eyes are situated on top of their body and their mouth beneath it, so that the stingray does not actually see its prey when feeding. They feed primarily on crustaceans, molluscs and small fish, inhabiting coral reef areas.
There are eight different families of ray throughout most coastal tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world, with the many species of ray varying greatly in colour, size and body shape. Almost all species have a sting on their tail, which can be anywhere up to 35 centimetres in length, and is known to be venomous, inflicting severe pain on anyone unlucky enough to be stung.
Stingrays are highly feared by many people, due to their stinging capability, however they pose little or no threat to humans. The sting, however imposing, is used exclusively in self-defence, and only when the stingray has no other method of escape. Most injuries occur when the stingray has been stepped on, and even when stung, the victim is in little danger of death. This occurs only rarely however, as the stingray will almost always move away from an approaching human before contact can occur.
Stingrays can often be seen feeding in the warm, shallow waters of Hill Inlet, providing good entertainment for visitors, who will often be seen wading after them through the shallow water. They can also be seen from the Hill Inlet lookout as dark shapes moving slowly through the clear water. Their natural curiosity often means they will allow people to approach them, and they allow people a fantastic close-encounter with underwater wildlife in Hill Inlet.