“There are so many animals people can’t get close to,” says senior aquarist Alice Bereman, who is on the stingray team. “This is a species that is very gentle.”
“And they have a built-in smile,” adds aquarist and team member Michael Masellis.
At the same time that she’s caring for the rays early in the morning, Alice just enjoys watching them. “They are just such beautiful animals. They look like a flock of birds.”
When you watch the cownose rays flying just under the surface in a large school, you’ll see that they stay in touch with each other, brushing wingtips or fluttering over and under each other. They are tactile animals. As you lean over the spacious pool, reaching into the 78-degree water, you’re just as likely to be part of their touch experience.
So rinse your hands (for the well-being of the rays), roll up your sleeves and gently lower a horizontal high-five into the pool. Then let us know what you think the rays feel like!
—Karen Furnweger, web editor