Baby eagle rays are unintentionally hilarious

By Bec Crew | June 5, 2019

Eagle rays are magnificent.

Contributor

Bec Crew

Becky Crew is a Sydney-based science communicator with a love for weird and wonderful animals. From strange behaviours and special adaptations to newly discovered species and the researchers who find them, her topics celebrate how alien yet relatable so many of the creatures that live amongst us can be.

EAGLE RAYS carry themselves with the kind of grace and serenity that we humans can only dream about, plus they have those gorgeous polka dots spread out perfectly across their kite-shaped bodies.

Whether we’re talking about the ocellated eagle ray (Aetobatus ocellatus) or the spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari), both found along the coast of Northern Australia and NSW, there’s something a little bit magical about these gentle creatures.

A type of cartilaginous fish, eagle rays have skeletons made of cartilage instead of bone (just like sharks and sawfish) and have wide, flat snouts like a duck’s bill.

They’ve also got some intimidatingly long tails, armed of course with multiple venomous spines.

These tails stretch far longer than the eagle ray’s own body – the spotted eagle ray sports a tail almost 5 metres long, which is almost hard to fathom, but then there’s the ocellated eagle ray’s tail, which is even longer than that.

Because of these weaponised tails, stingrays can be pretty intimidating, but they’re more inquisitive and playful than aggressive, according to marine biologist, Richard Wylie, who told Australian Geographic:

“In a recent encounter I found myself playing with a very large smooth stingray (Dasyatis brevicaudata) in a manner that reminded me of playing with a puppy. When I free-dived to the bottom, the ray would swim over the top of me and gently nuzzle me, investigating exactly what I was, it seemed.”

Oh, and did we mention they’re graceful AF?

Honestly, we could watch this guy float around with his little fish friend for hours:

But here’s the thing. Eagle rays can be magnificent one moment and goofy as hell the next, because all you need to do is flip them upside down and it’s like they’re wearing the world’s worst ghost costume.

It’s especially great when you’ve got a baby eagle ray launching itself out of its mother’s uterus like it’s their first Halloween:

And then they do their cute little leaps for air and it gives us life on this cold Monday morning.

Move over, octopuses, stingrays are the new dogs of the ocean. They’re so wholesome, even their memes make you feel nice:

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