Ask a Scientist: What if I want to swim with...Rays?


-When on a boat, enter water calmly as manta rays might be feeding nearby. When you are wading to swim with stingrays, just shuffle your feet in the sand to see if rays are hiding somewhere.

-Approaches should be left to the animal. With manta rays it is advised to remain still as they will get close while feeding on plankton in the water body.

-Rays should not be touched. This is advised for any wildlife but especially rays can be harmed as they possess a mucus that prevents them from any bacterial infection. Physical contact removes this protection and the animal is more prone for getting diseases. Stingrays have a barb which is attached to their tails, covered with sharp, flat spines which release a venom so being stung is extremely painful (but only life threatening when aimed at the chest or the abdomen). But no worries, stingrays are normally quite gentle around people and only use their weapon to defend themselves when feeling bothered.

-Do not put your hands near its mouth. Stingrays have small, flat teeth and a quite strong jaw. They are able to open clam shells. Do I need to say more? ;)

-Taking pictures while experiencing animals at short range is very popular and it’s a great way to take some memories back home. For this, please make sure your flash is turned off at any times as it may startle the animal.