What Happened to the Stingray That Killed Steve Irwin?

March 12, 2024

In a shocking moment on camera Crocodile Hunter host Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray that pierced his chest in 2006 during filming for an underwater documentary Ocean's Deadliest. The documentary crew had been looking for tiger sharks at the time but had little luck due to bad weather. They were therefore snorkelling in shallow waters to shoot footage of reef and small animals for Irwin's daughter Bindi's TV programme when the stingray attacked him.

The stingray's jagged barb (which extends up to a foot from its tail) went through Irwin's chest "like a hot knife through butter," according to Irwin's cameraman at the time. He explained that the stingray mistook Irwin for a tiger shark, which feeds on them and is known to hunt them. As a result, it stabbed the star repeatedly with its tail, striking him 'hundreds of times in a matter of seconds'.

It was an unprovoked attack and a tragic end for the daredevil conservationist who wrestled crocodiles and dangled cobras to raise awareness about wildlife issues. But a series of disturbing discoveries in recent weeks of mutilated stingrays in Queensland, Australia, has prompted Irwin's family and supporters to warn people not to seek revenge.

Up to 10 stingrays with their tails cut off have washed up on beaches in the region since Irwin's death. While officials aren't sure of the cause - it may be that fishermen accidentally cut off the tails while fishing for other fish, or people may kill them out of fear - they say it is likely not in retribution for Irwin's death.

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