Stingrays do not aggressively attack humans, though stings do normally occur if a ray is accidentally stepped on. To avoid stepping on a stingray in shallow water, the water should be waded through with a shuffle. Alternatively, before wading, stones can be thrown into the water to scare stingrays away. Contact with the stinger causes local trauma (from the cut itself), pain, swelling, muscle cramps from the venom
, and later may result in infection from bacteria. The injury is very painful
, but seldom life-threatening unless the stinger pierces a vital area. The barb usually breaks off in the wound, and surgery may be required to remove the fragments.