Over 170 beachgoers were stung at this California beach last Saturday.
Huntington Beach, one of the most famous beaches in all of California, apparently has a lot of stingrays. The volatile little creatures are typically chill and prefer to hang out beneath the warm sands at high tide. However, that can be a problem on a busy beach.
A school of stingrays wandered into town last weekend and decided to set up shop. Huntington Beach had an unseasonably warm day on Saturday (an increasingly common occurrence), which in turn caused a lot of people to want to cool off at the beach.
The net result was that 176 people got stung by stingrays.
“We get out a pretty aggressive public safety campaign... advising folks to stay out of the water if possible," said Lt. Eric Dieterman of the Marine Safety Division at the Huntington Beach Fire Department in an interview with KTLA.
Unfortunately, since the stingrays are often buried in the sand they can be pretty hard to spot. Often the only sign that you’re anywhere near a stingray is when you accidentally step on one. Naturally, the stingray gets a little peeved at this treatment and responds by stinging their unwitting assailants.
Stings have been described as "pretty intense" by those unfortunate enough to be stung. Local resident Aaron Newman described the sensation and how to care for the wound after a sting on his Facebook page.
"It felt like something bit through the top of my foot,” wrote Newman. “I ran out of the water to the lifeguard stand & got a bag of warm water to soak my foot in. I walked home in pain, showered & continued to soak my foot in a bucket of hot water for a couple of hours until the pain subsided."
By Sunday the waters around Huntington had cooled off which encouraged the stingrays to find a warmer beach. Still, they might come back if this warm up, and with global warming being a thing, expect stingray/human encounters like this to increase with the ever-warming temperatures.