Sunday, March 6, 2016

Play With And Feed The Stingrays - Stingray City, Berry Islands, Bahamas

Play With And Feed The Stingrays
Stingray City
Berry Islands, Bahamas

N 25° 48.716 W 077° 54.312

Short Description: 

Stingray City is on an isolated sandbar near one of the smaller of the Berry Islands in the Bahamas. It can be reached by cruise ship excursions from Great Stirrup Cay and other islands used by cruise ships.

Long Description:

A short motorboat ride takes you from one of the cruise ship islands, such as Great Stirrup Cay, to Stingray City, a shallow sandbar with a large enclosure containing 42 female and one male southern stingrays. The stingrays are docile and fascinating creatures. They will allow themselves to be held and hand fed.

The operators will bring a large bucket of squid, one of their favorite foods. They come willingly to the operators, known as wranglers, to be held. They know they are going to be fed. The wranglers will position the stingray so that it is facing you, give you a piece of squid, and instruct you as to how the feed these interesting animals.

You fold your thumb down and curl your other four fingers around the squid. Approaching the stingray from the front, you place your hand just below its mouth, which is on its underside exactly between its eyes. Stingrays feed by sucking up food with a powerful force. You can feel the squid being pulled from your hand as the stingray takes it into its mouth.

All the stingrays on the sandbar have names and identifying tags. The feeding continues until all the people on the excursion have a chance to feed a stingray and all the stingrays have been fed. Next a photo op session begins. The wranglers will pass a stingray to you for you to hold in your arms and have your picture taken. Again, the stingrays are willing participants because they know that now they will be fed once again, this time by the wrangler as you hold them.

The stingrays are accustomed to people and are quite curious and friendly. They only use their stingers defensively. The only danger is accidentally stepping on their tail. To avoid this possibility you simply shuffle your feet as your walk along the sandbar. The stingrays will sense the vibration you create and get out of your way.

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