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What Happens When Dozens Of Bat Rays Show Up At An Oakland Flea Market?

<p><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/edbierman/2926167084/sizes/m/" style="text-decoration: none;">Ed Bierman</a></p>

It was your usual summer Sunday flea market in Oakland, Calif., until the bat rays decided to show up. Dozens of California bat rays, reports KTVU, swam circles in a briny waterway near the market. "They look like, kind of like rugs," said one young observer.

Bat rays, normally found gliding through the Pacific Ocean's kelp forests and bays, are well-adapted to swimming brackish water. But seeing this many as far inland as Oakland is unusual. It's possible that a lack of freshwater from California's ongoing drought means the waterways are saltier than typical -- more likely to be inhabited by the little saltwater fish and crustaceans that the rays eat.


"It's actually nice. It's nice to get outside and see wildlife like this," said flea market shopper Paul Clementi as he watched the rays from a bridge. "You can't see it from your couch."

Although dozens of these flapping swimmers might sound like a whole lotta fish, some species of rays will schools in the tens of thousands -- such as this giant group of mobular rays in 2012: