As ocean temperatures rise, so do the number of stingrays along San Diego's coastline and lifeguards are asking those flocking to the beach to be cautious.
"The stingrays are out in full force!," the unofficial San Diego Lifeguards group noted on their Facebook page on Sunday.
While the group did not specify why stingrays, specifically the California round rays, were increasing their presence at local beaches, National Geographic notes the marine animal loves shallow, warm water.
Water temperatures on Sunday were nearing 60 degrees, SDFD lifeguards said.
Stingrays will bury themselves beneath the sand while they hunt. When a beachgoer unwittingly steps on or near one, a ray will react by using their barbed tail to puncture the threat.
Experts advise beachgoers to do the so-called "stingray shuffle" by dragging their feet through the sand to scare away stingrays and avoid getting stung.
The lifeguard group said if a beachgoer is stung by a ray's venom-covered barb they should do the following:
- stop the bleeding
- seek out a lifeguard
- soak the area in hot water to deactivate the venom
- clean the wound to prevent infection
The California round rays are typically found as far south as Panama and as far north as Humbolt Bay, California but are most frequently spotted in southern and northern California, according to the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Last summer's drastically warm ocean temperatures sent the number of stingray stings soaring. SDFD lifeguards noted at the time that the department was responding to about 80 stings a week.
In Huntington Beach, nearly 75 people reported getting stung by stingrays in a single day in January 2018.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said San Diego Fire-Rescue Lifeguards shared the warning about stingrays on their Facebook page. The information was shared by an unoffocial page dedicated to San Diego lifeguards.