This is the culprit responsible for so many stings during the spring and summer months in Southern California. Growing to a length of 22 inches, stingrays often bury themselves in the soft mud or sandy bottoms. They feed by digging up the bottom with their “wings” looking for prey. Round stingrays can be found from Northern California to Panama. These fish are not aggressive and will swim away if given half a chance. When there is little or no surf in a beach area, sting rays will come in close to the shore on their hunt for food, burying themselves in the shallows. It is here that they will get stepped on by bathers. When stepped on, the will whip their tails with its stinger up and around towards its back to stink the foot that is on it. Soaking a sting in hot water will help alleviate the pain of the victim. One problem with being a stingray is that many surf fishermen kill the animal rather than taking a chance on being stung while removing the hook. This practice results in many unnecessary stingray deaths.
Here’s a short Youtube video of a California stingray enjoying its dinner. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A77-HqaZRu8