Steve Irwin fell victim to extraordinarily bad luck to be killed Monday by a stingray, a bizarre-looking but normally shy creature whose defenses include poisonous serrated barbs in the tail, experts said.

Here are more facts about stingrays:

Stingrays are the largest of the venomous fish

There are 480 known species of stingray

Stingrays live in both freshwater and in the oceans

At least 35 species swim in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef

Steve Irwin's death was only the third known stingray death in Australian waters

Stingrays are considered passive creatures

A stingray lashes its tail only as a defensive measure

A stingray will use its tail when frightened or stepped on

A stingray's tail is serrated

Tails carry at least one barb or spine up to 37 centimeters long

Many do not have the ability to sting

Since 1996, there have only been 17 stingray-related deaths worldwide

(Sources: AP; NEWS.com.au; Sydney Morning Herald)