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Football-loving rays show off their ball skills!

  • Thursday 1st December 2022

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Move over Harry Kane as an unlikely team of football-loving rays are causing quite a splash at SEA LIFE London Aquarium after playing their own version of the beautiful game.

Diving may be frowned upon at the World Cup but inside the London Aquarium display tank there’s no need for VAR replays, as a variety of different species show off their skills as part of their new underwater football game to stimulate natural behaviours.

Ahead of England’s last 16 clash against Senegal this Sunday, a team of six rays took part in the enrichment game ‘refereed’ by expert Aquarists and featuring a hollow football filled with their favourite fish to encourage mental stimulation to mimic finding their food in the wild.

While the rays have the special ability to detect electric fields of living creatures when they pray for their food, in this case, the rays use their sense of smell to find their food. By using simple problem solving and great teamwork, the rays dive towards the feedable football then bat it back and forth for more food to fall out and eat.

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Rowena Kennedy, Displays Supervisor at SEA LIFE London Aquarium, said: “Our squad of rays have loved playing their own version of the beautiful game since we introduced the new enrichment plan for the start of the World Cup.

“Rays are intelligent creatures so it’s important that we encourage natural feeding behaviours and problem solving in their care plan. Our feeder footballs are a fun and stimulating way for the rays to eat as it encourages foraging behaviour and utilises their keen sense of smell as they would in the wild.”

There are more than 500 different species of rays and skates which live around Britain’s coastline.

Rays have been around for more than 150 million years and are evolved from sharks. Their bodies are made of cartilage like a human nose or ear making it perfect to glide past each other when playing football!

Guests can enjoy the football-loving Rays along with thousands of other creatures from Gentoo Penguins to Green Sea Turtles at SEA LIFE London Aquarium situated on the South Bank which is open seven days a week.

Ticket information

  • Entry at your chosen 15-minute time slot
  • Discover species from around the world in 14 themed zones and interact with them at our public feeding, diving displays and touch pools

Ticket information

  • Arrive at any time on the day of your choice