Around the World in 80 Days - Day 38
Phileas Fogg could well have managed to see one of these. They prefer shallow water, though they will get into deeper water. They can be found from South Africa to Japan to Australia, though in spite of the large range they are still quite rare now. Their biggest threat is being caught, either accidentally or on purpose. They are caught for their fins, used in shark fin soup. Often when they are caught for that reason, the fins are all that are used, the rest is thrown out. In some parts of their range their meat is much sought after. Some places the bumpy ridges with what are called "thorns" are used in making jewelry. It is thought they may use those thorns and defensively ram things like tiger sharks which prey on them. They certainly cause problems for fishermen when they are caught in nets, they can destroy a net while trying to free themselves. These rays can grow to be almost 10 feet long and nearly 300 pounds. One site said they considered the "pandas of the sea". Two places have managed to breed them, the first time all pups died, I do not know how the rest of the attempts have turned out.
I haven't decided when, but I'm going to turn the heat up in our house one of these days. I'm currently sitting at my computer with my space heater on high, wishing I had a second space heater. The rest of my family are totally fine, even wearing shorts and wandering around barefoot. I have slippers on but my toes are so cold they actually hurt. I've warned my family that I'm going to just have the house be warm enough for me to feel comfortable one of these days and they will have to deal with it. I realize there may be unintended consequences of this, as 3 guys wandering around the house sweating and claiming they are boiling hot may not be worth it. Our air conditioner died one a couple years ago. At the time, there were forest fires in the Gorge (where a lot of waterfalls are) and the smoke was bad even in our town. The smoke made it so that we could not open our windows and I could not go outside unless I had an N95 mask on. It was very hot at the time, and the guys were all hating it. I felt guilty because at night, they might have been fine if they could have opened their windows. I sent them with the dogs to the coast to spend the night with my parents to get a break from the heat. I was fine and not really too hot at all, but was unwell and not able to go to the coast. Not only was I fine with the heat, in fact I was a little annoyed how well I was doing in such high temperatures. I'm an Oregonian, I'm supposed to be miserable in really hot weather because we don't get it very often. Instead, I'm shivering here while our house is set at 68F and wishing I could get the temperature up to at least 72.