Eagle rays are an iconic South African marine species found along the entire length of our coastline, and range as far as the Black Sea and the African East Coast.
The defining characteristic of eagle rays is the shape of their fins (each fin is triangular, giving the animal a fascinating rhombus-shaped disc appearance when viewed from above or below).
Their snouts are quite large and rounded and their tails are slender, with a small dorsal fin where it connects to the body and with a single large defensive spine.
And if you are intrigued by these charming animals, you’ll be happy to know that the Two Oceans Aquarium welcomed four little pups into their sanctuary after a mother eagle ray gave birth!
Eagle rays are “ovoviviparous”, which means that the mother keeps the eggs inside her body after they hatch, feeding the pups fluids and egg yolks to help them grow.
According to the Two Oceans Aquarium, pups need to be competent swimmers after they are born, so there’s no time for a baby to learn or grow before needing to survive in the wild. After a few short minutes of disorientation, while they figure out which way is up, and how their muscles work. The baby rays can then swim, move and survive just like their adult mother!
These rays will be spending some time acting as animal ambassadors for this incredible Critically Endangered species, before being released into the wild, the Two Oceans Aquarium adds.
Watch the magnificent moment here:
Picture: Two Oceans Aquarium