There are almost 500 different species of rays and skate in our oceans and rivers. Their closest relative is the shark. Just like sharks, they don’t have a bony skeleton. Instead, their skeleton is made of cartilage (just like our nose and ears!) This makes it easier for rays to glide through the ocean. To swim they flap their fins like a bird.
Did you know that rays are masters of disguise? Some change colour based on the colours of the seabed. With their flat body they can hide on the ocean floor to stay protected from predators. Some use their venomous spine to protect against predators too, but only if they feel under threat.
You can make more amazing discoveries about rays on your visit to SEA LIFE!
Stingrays get their name from the stinging barb at the base of their tail. When they feel threatened stingrays can whip up their tail to puncture their pursuer with their spiny, venomous barb. Once they have done this it takes a while for a new one to grow back, so they only use it as a last resort!
In our 'Dive Discovery' you'll see huge Southern stingrays! These large predators spray water from their mouth and flap their wings to disturb the sandy bottom and reveal hidden prey.
They also like to bury themselves in the sand when they have to hide from their own predators such as great hammerhead sharks and killer whales.
The SEA LIFE Trust is working to protect sharks and rays and the habitats on which they depend.