Stingrays and manta rays are not the same thing, but they are often both relegated to the category of “eww-gross” cartilaginous plate-shaped water-things.
According to ray expert Martina Wing, there are many differences between the two. Manta rays have eyes on the sides of their heads and mouths in the front, while stingrays have eyes on top and their mouths underneath.
Manta rays are like underwater birds. They have wings that they use in a very bird-like fashion, while stingrays ripple the edges of their fins to propel themselves.
Another huge difference is that stingrays have stingers, and manta rays do not.
Manta rays do not sting. They have no teeth. Their only method of defense is by swimming away — really fast. They can get up to 14 feet wide, so they can cruise through the water pretty quickly.
Unless they get beached. Like many other sea creatures, manta rays can get tangled up in detritus and die because they are dragged down or onto a beach.
One particular ray got all wrapped up in a fishing net and was cast up onto a populated beach. Plenty of people stood around and filmed the giant creature, which was several times the size of the men there.
Only one man stepped up and tried to assist the massive ray. The others seemed wary.
“Bring me a knife to cut it!” the man shouted, referring to the net.
“He’s still alive, can you see it?” one viewer said. “Take a look. Stay there, let’s go to the stingray.”
“Everyone is filming and one person is dealing with the fish,” he continued. Perhaps he had a condition of some sort that prevented him from assisting, but if not, it seems he missed the irony in his own words. “Poor animal. Poor animal.”
Eventually, the brave man cut the rope and freed the giant ray — but it was still stranded on the sand. After several calls for help, a group of people came over and finally started to help push the ray back into the ocean.
For a while the ray drifted, probably stunned and unable to move much in the shallow water, but once it had a little space to move, it started swimming out. Had it not been for the dedication of the man in the white shirt, that might have been the ray’s last day.
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