There are animals we think of as cute, others as friendly, and a few that are both. But sometimes nature has surprises. A case in point? The manta ray!
The manta ray is a bizarre-looking flat fish (the word “manta” comes from the Spanish and Portuguese words for cloak). Its fins and body look to be all of one piece and it appears to fly through the water by flapping its “wings.” Manta rays can grow to be extremely large, measuring 20 feet across and weighing well over a ton. Although large and powerful, they’re actually quite docile by nature. Manta rays have the largest brains of any species of fish and being surprisingly intelligent and curious, they can become accustomed to being in the presence of humans.
And that brings us to a boy who lives in the Canary Islands, an overseas territory of Spain. There’s a set of stairs leading to the water were sea creatures, including manta rays, congregate to gobble up unwanted bits of seafood that local fishermen toss to them. This is where the boy befriended a huge manta ray. As it gradually became familiar with the boy and grew to trust him, the ray would come to the surface nearby, allowing itself to be petted. It also would literally eat from the boy’s hand. There was no sign of any hostility whatsoever from the ray; these enormous fish only go on the attack if they feel threatened or get startled.
In the amazing video we’ve posted below, you can see the boy visit his highly unusual friend. He, of course, brings a snack! Once they saw the footage, his friends knew that this wasn’t just a “fish story.”
Would getting this close to a one ton fish completely freak you out or would you like to befriend a manta ray, too? Let us know in the Facebook comments. Be sure to like and share so your friends don’t miss this incredible story about a boy and his huge friend.