Tourists 'photobombed' with hug by giant, smiling stingray - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Tourists 'photobombed' with hug by giant, smiling stingray

Stingrays, while deadly, generally only sting when stepped on, not when hugging. (Source: http://www.reddit.com/user/epic676) Stingrays, while deadly, generally only sting when stepped on, not when hugging. (Source: http://www.reddit.com/user/epic676)
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(RNN) - How would you react to a large sea creature taking a surprise ride on your back?

A group of swimmers found out when they were 'photobombed' by a giant sting ray who just wanted a peek at the camera.

The look of sheer horror on their faces is juxtaposed by laughing onlookers. If you squint, you can just make out the top of the head of a man holding the smiling stingray up.

Posted to social media website Reddit, the image is now making its rounds on the net, preserving and publicizing the unfortunate trio's frightened reaction to a sea creature whose diet consists mostly of small, bottom-dwelling critters - not people.

The user who posted the image, epic676, said the photo was "shamelessly stolen from a friend's Facebook."

Reddit users said the scene most likely took place in the Cayman Islands at a place called Stingray City, which according to its website is a combination snorkeling and petting destination of sorts. Tourists can stand in three feet of water among "friendly" stingrays and then take a snorkeling trip to a nearby barrier reef and coral gardens.

Stingrays themselves can be dangerous, but generally only if stepped on or attacked. They're equipped with a stinger, which they can use to cut attackers or plunge into them. Wildlife show host Steve Irwin famously died in 2006 when a stingray barb punctured his heart.

The animals are smooth to the touch and a little grainy, sort of like rubber - and you can only imagine what that would feel like glued to your back. One thing for sure, the girls in the photo won't likely forget the sensation any time soon.

As one imgur commenter succinctly put it: "Put on sun block, still not protected from harmful rays."

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