There is an abundance of aquatic life along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Mississippi's Gulf of Mexico is home to several species of stingrays: the southern stingray, longnose stingray, manta ray, and a few others. Stingrays are mostly seen in salt waters but have been spotted upstream in the Mississippi River on occasion.
Stingrays can be deadly. The "stinger" is a modified tail containing a barb and venom gland. Deaths are typically caused by direct trauma from the barb, similar to knife wound. Injuries are worse depending on the location the barb punctures.
Stingray envenomation can be very painful. Irrigation with warm water may be effective at relieving pain. The wound should be inspected for foreign bodies i.e., a retained barb. Because stingray envenomation carries a high rate of infection, wounds should be aggressively irrigated, and antibiotics should be administered. The Mississippi Poison Control Center recommends to always seek medical care in the event of a stingray envenomation.