Outdoors + Nature

Natural Wonders

by Nicola McCormack

Florida: Cownose Ray Migration

Clearly an event best witnessed from the safety of a boat is the migration of stingrays south each fall from their summer feeding grounds off the coast of Florida to Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, then back again in late spring. These cownose rays—so named because the two lobes at the front of their raised head give them a bovine appearance—can measure up to seven feet wide. Catch their migration and you'll be amazed by the golden glow the huge numbers of rays give off as they skim just below the surface—they migrate in groups (known as fevers) of as many as 10,000. It's said that they're very shy (perhaps embarrassed by their cowlike looks) and unlikely to attack, but considering that they're armed with a poisonous stinger that can grow as much as 15 inches long, you probably shouldn't put that theory to the test.

Where to stay: The 30 bungalows at the Little Palm Island Resort & Spa on Little Torch Key are British Colonial in style, with four-poster beds festooned with white netting. There are no TVs, but searching for stingrays is far more rewarding, anyway.

Next: A movable feast of wildebeest in the Serengeti >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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