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Attraction location map

Resident Rays

Native Thornback, Blonde and Painted Rays

If you want to get really close to our creatures then you MUST pay a visit to the Rays. You’ll find them in the Bay of Rays, next to Coral Cave. You will get a chance to find out more about our Rays with talks and demos from our team of SEA LIFE experts.

Most of our Rays are adults at 5-7 years old. They are not dangerous and have no venomous barb on the tip of their tail. They cannot generate electricity. However, they do have quite sharp ridges and spikes on their topmost sides.

We do not allow our guests to touch the Rays because excessive touching of the Rays disrupts their protective slime coating. This coating is the fish’s first line of defence from external parasites and illnesses. It protects the animals’ wellbeing. Also, excessive handling is unnatural and potentially stressful.

We have had lots of success breeding our Rays and have even sent young Rays to other aquariums across the country. If you spot Rays in the tank with wounds on them it may be because of their mating practice whereby the male uses his claspers (either side of this tail) to clasp on to the female.

Bowmouth Guitar Shark

This wonderfully bizarre animal is called a Bowmouth Guitar Shark. Though it is classified as a Ray, really it is half Ray and half Shark! Rays evolved from Sharks but this species stopped somewhere in-between.

Known as a Ray Shark, the Bowmouth Guitar Shark is highly distinctive with a wide thick body, a blunt snout and a large shark-like dorsal and tail fins. There are multiple thorny ridges over its head and back, and it has dorsal color pattern of many white spots over a bluish gray to brown background, with a pair of prominent markings over the pectoral fins.

Bowmouth Guitar Sharks prefer sandy or muddy flats and areas adjacent to reefs, where they hunt for crustaceans, molluscs, and bony fishes. They are widely distributed in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans.

They are typically encountered on or near the bottom of the sea bed, though on occasion they may be seen swimming well above it. They generally are more active swimmers at night.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed this species as Vulnerable; its sizable pectoral fins are greatly valued as food and it is widely caught by artisanal and commercial fisheries.


Covid-19 Update
We are so excited to welcome you back to our magical underwater world! Please remember it is now essential for all guests to pre-book a time slot for your visit, including for annual passes, flexi tickets and all promotional vouchers - All visits can be booked or reserved here.

To ensure the health and safety of our guests and staff, we would ask that if you are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19, or are living in an area currently subject to extended lockdown measures, you can rearrange your visit by contacting us directly at slcbirmingham@merlinentertainments.biz. To find out about the health and safety measures in place to ensure we re-open safely, please click here.
For further re-opening information, please click here.