The List: Number 1 – Handfeed Stingrays

Posted by August 4, 2010 nubbed, RL 5 Comments

This was one of those random, unlikely to happen, “throw it out there”, “I have my whole life to do these” items on The List. When I realised that actually, Kelly Tarltons (the local aquarium) DOES let the public hand feed their stingrays, I was totally on board. I convinced my best friend, The Second Quarter + my girl JZ to come stand in a pool with stingrays and hold out a bit of fish with me.

In short, it was brilliant. And scary, and amazing but mostly quite scary. They were HUGE, and completely unlike any other animal I’d ever encountered up close. They were a little bit slimy to touch, and to be honest, they freaked me out quite a lot.

Still, these ones were pretty tame. They still had their barbs, but were polite enough to move them away from us when they passed. They’re apparently quite familiar with people, which was nice for us.

Feeding them was also pretty random, as when you dropped the fish, they hoovered the water to get the fish, and they beat their wings to keep themselves upright against the hoovering. It was an unexpected thing, that made me drop the fish the first time, and made me unsure whether I’d actually fed the string ray the second.

It was a brilliant experience, totally memorable, and very exciting. If you have a chance to do something like it? Do it. Absolutely just do it.

- If you can’t see the video, check it out on vimeo here.
- All the footage in the pool is blurry, cause the camera was safe and dry in a ziplock bag. I didn’t fancy getting my video camera wet.
- The rest of the footage that is dark (especially in the beginning) is because I didn’t use my brain or think about light sources when I took the footage. Fail.
- For those of you that were there, or heard about it from those that were there, yes I edited out the squeal. I’m sure you can imagine it at about the 2:18 mark.


  • heather says:

    oh congrats! that is so awesome, looks like a very fun time. you reaffirm my goal to ride/feed/bathe a wild elephant.

    • Elly says:

      @Heather – Thanks! It was a brilliant (although, really scary) experience. Super fun, though. And woo! Swimming with Elephants is on my list, too :) – elly

  • I’ve actually done this before… It’s so cool. SeaWorld in San Diego, California has a tank where you can do this. Though I think the barbs are removed on those…so you can safely really get your arm down in the water and the ray pulls the food off your hand.

    Way cool. :) Gratz on crossing another one off. :)

  • [...] Mel has a list of 100 things she wants to do, and one of the items was hand feeding stingrays. !! So we went to Kelly Tarltons and standing in waist deep water, fed stingrays chunks of fish. So, so ,amazing. There’s a video of our experience at Mel’s blog. [...]

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