Gentle Giants: Are Manta Rays Dangerous?

are manta rays dangerous

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Manta rays are some of the most majestic animals in our oceans. They are found worldwide in tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters.

These giant rays can be as large as 29 feet in length and weigh up to 5,300 pounds. Due to their size, when encountered in the wild they can certainly be intimidating.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at manta rays and answer a question that often comes up when discussing them. Are manta rays dangerous?

No, manta rays are curious by nature but pose no threat to humans. Unlike their stingray cousins, they do not have a barb and have no means of hurting people.

Are Manta Rays Actually Dangerous?

Giant manta rays can certainly look intimidating at first, with a huge wingspan and a jet-black appearance, they certainly look much more threatening than they really are.

But manta rays are quiet, peaceful animals that pose no danger to humans and are actually rather curious towards us.

Despite their evil appearance and nickname “devilfish”, they are completely harmless and are actually filter feeders that feed on plankton.

They are similar to whale sharks and basking sharks in the sense that they can often be found roaming around the oceans silently with their mouths open, filtering out food for them to eat.

There are lots of misconceptions when it comes to manta rays, largely because they look similar but larger than stingrays, so people think they must be dangerous.

However, this really is not the case. They are truly gentle giants that are not dangerous whatsoever, and oftentimes allow humans to get close to them and have a magical experience.

Can Manta Rays Sting?

Contrary to stingrays, manta rays do not have a barb or stinger. In fact, they don’t have teeth that could actually bite or cause harm to you.

Manta rays have a long tooth band on the underside along their lower jaw. It looks a little like sandpaper, but it’s less dangerous.

These beautiful rays do not have the ability to swallow anything other than plankton, they are unable to swallow even small fish.

In some instances when a fish accidentally finds itself in a manta ray’s mouth, the ray will spit it out immediately.

The giant mouth of a manta ray may look intimidating, but it’s completely harmless to humans and even small fish.

Has A Manta Ray Ever Killed Anyone?

A manta ray has never killed a human being, so there is no need to fear these animals. They have no means of attacking or harming a human as they have no barbs.

They use solely their size and agility in the water to escape and evade predators. Their size is usually enough to deter most predators, but if that doesn’t work then they use their powerful wings to swim away.

Manta rays can swim at speeds of 22mph in short bursts and they are surprisingly agile, allowing them to outmaneuver most predators.

Manta rays don’t attack humans. This includes divers, swimmers, snorkelers, and everything in between. They have no interest in causing us harm and are intelligent enough to know that we are not food.

I mean how could they mistake us for tiny plankton anyway?

That said, like any wild animal, it’s always important to treat manta rays with respect and caution as if they feel threatened or intimidated they may try to attack and defend themselves.

Are Manta Rays Dangerous To Swim With?

Manta rays are not dangerous to swim with at all. As a species, they are completely safe to be around in the water and can actually be friendly toward humans.

Swimming with wild manta rays is an experience that never goes away, these majestic animals are one of a kind and there is something truly special about swimming with them.

Providing you are aware of your surroundings and always being respectful towards manta rays, then swimming with them is completely safe and an amazing experience.

Are Manta Rays Friendly?

Yes, manta rays are friendly toward humans. They are naturally curious and may approach you and allow you to get incredibly close to them.

You should always remember though that touching a manta ray is a BIG no-no.

Not only can you cause them serious harm but it can also harm the ecosystem they live in by spreading harmful bacteria.

Manta rays pose no threat to humans and are incredible animals, but if they feel threatened or intimidated by you then they will flee and swim away very quickly.

Many manta rays that are in places like the Maldives are accustomed to people and allow them to get very close.

Final Thoughts

Are manta rays dangerous? No, not at all. These gentle giant rays are completely safe for humans to be around, they are even quite friendly and curious toward us.

However, you should never get within touching distance of a manta ray, as touching one can cause them serious harm by damaging the protective film they have on its skin.

Manta rays are filter feeders that have no interest in humans, they are much more interested in roaming around looking for plankton to feed on.

Hopefully, this post has been informative and you’ve learned why manta rays are not dangerous.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article and feel free to stick around to learn more about manta rays and other marine life.