Monday, June 25, 2012

Columbus Zoo Stingray Bay Video

Stingray Bay at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is now open to the public. I recently visited the new attraction and took some video of the majestic stingrays doing their thing. You will see two types of rays at Stingray Bay: the smaller cownose stingray and the larger Southern stingrays. This 18,000 gallon saltwater tank allows guests to touch and feed stingrays. Timed tickets are given out if you want to come back later but in our case we were able to get in the building almost immediately after purchasing our tickets (and thoroughly washing our hands). A cup of food to feed the stingrays costs $2 (not sure if feeding is allowed only at certain times of the day or not).

Cownose stingrays are members of the eagle ray family and are found in the Atlantic Ocean. The cownose has a series of teeth and dental plates used for crushing oyster shells and clams. The cownose ray typically does have a stinger on the end of its tail with venom that cause bee sting like symptoms. Of course, this tails have been ground or clipped so as not to harm or hurt any of the visitors who wish to pet these magnificent creatures. So yes, they are safe to touch.

The southern stingray is also found in the Atlantic Ocean. Its flattened body is ideal for life on the bottom of the ocean. The ray’s spine contains a poisonous mucous which, though not fatal to humans, is extremely painful if you are unfortunate enough to step on one. The small openings on its head are called spiracles and they allow the ray to take in water while buried in the sea floor sand. Females often grow larger than males and can be up to 150 centimeters across!

Stingray Bay Tips - Best Way to Touch Stingrays 
As you can see in the video, the trick is to submerge your hand all the way in the hard and don't move it around. If you do this the stingray will come to you! If you try to reach out and pet them they will swim away quickly. This really works!