Stingray ‘photobomb’ goes viral, but what’s the real story?

The stingray makes its appearance in the girls' photo. Picture: Imgur
The stingray makes its appearance in the girls' photo. Picture: Imgur
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BY NOW, you’ve probably seen the photo of three holidaymakers taking a picture in the sea - only to be ‘photobombed’ by an inquisitive stingray.

The picture has been doing the rounds on the internet, and has since gone viral in the few days since it first cropped up on image-sharing site

The picture has also attracted the attention of a number of news outlets, and has been shared and reposted countless times on Twitter and Facebook.

Animal ‘photobombs’ are nothing new - a publicity-seeking squirrel who popped up in a couple’s holiday snaps became a similar internet hit, whilst several similar photos involving dolphins, cats, dogs and occasionally monkeys are readily available online.

However, one of the women in the original picture has apparently revealed the true story behind the picture.

According to, Sarah Bourland, a school teacher from Texas, revealed that the photo came about after a photographer offered to take a picture of her and her friends in the Cayman Islands, holding a stingray - but put it on their backs without warning. Bourland adds that the reactions were genuine as a result of the unexpectedness, and that she only became aware of the five-year-old picture’s popularity after she was inundated with emails and messages from people saying that they had seen her on various websites.

The photo was not posted by one of the three girls, but Bourland admitted that the trio had been unsuccessfully trying to get the picture featured on the ‘funniest photo’ segment on American chat show host Ellen Degeneres’s programme.

Whilst perhaps a little disappointing to learn that the celebrity stingray was no more than an ‘accomplice’, it is, nevertheless, quite an amusing picture.

At the time of writing, the photo has been viewed nearly a million times on Imgur, and has been featured on Chinese-language news sites as well as western media outlets.