Sting rays can be found in the shallow waters of sandy beaches almost anywhere, including the northern California coast. But they only pose a threat to humans when we accidentally step on them—and there are ways to avoid that.
Although there are hundreds of kinds of rays populating the world’s oceans, biologist Bob Rubin explains that they all share a common ancestor—a 200 million year old shark.
Getting stung by a ray is excruciating, but rarely fatal. Even in the most publicized recent cases, says Rubin, the deaths attributed to rays were largely accidental.