The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

August 12, 2013

Stringray influx prompts warning on Ala coast

— ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — Officials say a stringray invasion prompted warnings for beachgoers along the Alabama coast.

Purple flags are flying on beaches because of a large number of stringray sightings, and more than 20 people have complained about coming into contact with them.

The beach safety director in Orange Beach, Melvin Shepard, tells WALA-TV (http://bit.ly/14CyMSR ) several people have been stung.

Stingrays get their name from a barb in their tail, which they swing as a defense mechanism. The barb can hit anyone walking in the water on the lower leg.

The animals often bury themselves in shallow water, and Shepard says swimmers can shuffle their feet to scare them away.

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