A group of vacationers in the Maldives were treated to an unusual display as a hungry stingray leapt from the water, climbing a ramp towards the tourists who were feeding nearby fish by hand.
The stingray can be seen early in the video circling the base of a ramp, upon which a man is throwing food to a school of fish. Apparently sensing an easy meal, the stingray swims to the surface, before rippling its wings and ascending the wooden gangplank. The man then proceeds to feed the stingray by hand, three times. The stingray even hesitates after the last feeding, waiting for a moment as he reaches out to pet it.
This excited stingray jumps on a ramp to be first in line for food http://t.co/Fj1jQQtpRv pic.twitter.com/WpeHMnpY37
— someecards (@someecards) September 23, 2014
The Maldives are known for their population of stingrays, according to The Daily Mail, and many tour companies offer packages which allow tourists to swim with or feed the cartilaginous fish. Stingrays feed upon a variety of ocean-borne food, including soft-shelled animals, shrimp, and clams.
Despite their frightening appearance and intimidating size, stingrays aren’t known to be aggressive, 9 News relates. According to Murdoch University Marine biologists Dr. Mike van Keulen and Frazer McGregor, what they observed in the video led them to believe that the stingray was likely trained to come up the ramp after food, rather than simply acting of its own accord.
“The person throwing the fish has gloves on and actively hand feeds the ray,” they pointed out.
While stingrays are generally docile, they do possess a powerful defensive weapon in their tail barb, which can pose a serious danger to humans. Most famously, wildlife expert and conservationist Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray in 2006 after its barb pierced his heart. As The Inquisitr has previously noted, the cameraman who was with Irwin has revealed that video of the fatal stingray attack exists, although he refuses to release it.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) September 13, 2014
Earlier this month, an Australian teen was struck by a stingray, while swimming for a high school class. Seventeen-year-old Corey Jamieson was forced to wait for over 24 hours to have the stingray’s barb removed from his leg, due to rolling blackouts that plagued the hospital where he sought treatment. The teen specifically noted that memories of Irwin’s death prevented him from pulling out the stingray’s barb, lest he do more damage.
[Image via The Daily Mail]