The Spotted Eagle Ray is a visual stunning species of the Eagle Ray family (Myliobatidea). Dark in colour and covered in white spots or rings its striking pattern is hard to miss! Guests this week we’re treated to a sighting of four Eagle Rays swimming together on the surface of the water. What was particularly special about this encounter is that we saw these beautiful creatures on two consecutive days in two separate locations. The footage from our talented crew has been sent to the Eye on the Reef Sightings Network, and we believe the sightings were of the exact same animals!
Spotted Eagle Rays commonly feed on small fish and crustaceans and sometimes dig with their snout to look for buried food in the seabed. Spotted Eagle Rays also have a relatively long tail, near the base of this tail they have several venomous barbed stingers they use to defend themselves from large predators.
Although generally considered no threat to humans, as will all wild animals, if disturbed they may protect themselves. However, the only recorded death from this elegant creature was as a result of a freak accident. Eagle Rays, as their name might suggest are known for their acrobatics and are often seen leaping out of the water. One unfortunate incident in Florida Keys in 2008 saw a 35kg Eagle Ray jump into a boat where it struck and killed a woman from Michigan!
Fortunately for us, these rays approached us this week from below the surface of the water. Ocean Rafting’s is a high-speed tour with vessels with a low freeboard, meaning you are sat close to the water throughout the tour. This vessel style keeps you close to the action and provides amazing opportunities for wildlife encounters like these.