Surprise find in Sydney canal: 'Something is wrong with this picture’

A marine expert confirmed the sighting is unusual, and said it's actually a good sign. Find out why.

A Sydney resident on a regular walk around their neighbourhood has made an unusual discovery at the bottom of a waterway.

At first glance it’s difficult to see what is lying under the surface of Johnson’s Creek in the inner-west suburb of Annandale. But a zoomed-in image of the canal shows a stingray camouflaged against the ground.

The photos were uploaded to Reddit, where the resident said the ray was so well hidden they almost didn’t see the creature.

“I walk this route all the time so it was one of those moments where I didn't realise at first but my mind said ‘something is wrong with this picture’,” they said, adding that they thought it might’ve been “stuck during low tide”.

“Mr Pancake happily swam off once the water level got high enough,” they wrote in an update.

A stingray lies at the bottom of a canal in the inner-western Sydney suburb of Annandale.
The well-hidden stingray was spotted at the bottom of the canal in Annandale. Source: Reddit/chalk_in_boots

Ray sighting ‘unusual’, expert says

Humane Society International marine biologist Lawrence Chlebeck said the stingray was likely a common stingaree, which can usually be found along the east coast of Australia from southern Queensland to southern NSW.

“How cool to see a ray in their neighbourhood!” he remarked to Yahoo News Australia. “I wouldn’t say that’s usual, but not impossible.”

Mr Chlebeck said the fact that a ray was spotted in the creek meant the waterway was reasonably healthy.

“If a ray is travelling up the harbour waterways, then it hasn’t been repulsed by pollution or other environmental indicators like temperature or dissolved oxygen, so yeah, that little creek must be doing ok,” he said.

How to avoid being stung by a ray

While it’s unlikely anyone is entering the creek for a dip, it’s still handy to know how to avoid a painful sting from a ray. Mr Chlebeck said the best way for people to protect themselves is by doing the “stingray shuffle” – shuffling your feet along the bottom instead of stepping. This will disturb any nearby rays enough to cause them to swim away.

With pets, “it’d be best for them to steer clear – for the health of the dog and the ray”, he said.

“These little rays can deliver quite painful – but not life-threatening – stings.”

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