Gentle Giants: Are Manta Rays Friendly?

are manta rays friendly

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In this post, we answer a question that we see many people seeking the answer to: Are many rays friendly?

In a nutshell, yes, they absolutely are. Manta rays are gentle giants that are not to be confused with their deadly cousin the stingray.

Manta rays live in tropical waters worldwide and can commonly be found feeding on the surface, making swimming with manta rays accessible to many.

Let’s take a closer look…

Are Manta Rays Friendly To Humans?

Manta rays are not only safe to be in the water with but they are also friendly toward humans.

Providing you show respect, patience, and care towards manta rays I am confident that swimming with them will be one of the most memorable experiences in your life.

These rays are incredibly intelligent and understand that we are not a danger to them. They are inquisitive by nature and will usually swim right up to you to check you out.

Due to their friendly nature, it’s relatively easy to get up close and personal with a manta ray, even without expensive diving gear.

Many snorkellers encounter manta rays in the wild which is a truly magical experience, all you need is a snorkel and some swimming trunks and you’re good to go.

However, just because you’re able to get close to manta rays does not mean that you should try to touch them or startle them in any way.

Is There Any Danger To Swim With Manta Rays?

Manta rays do not have a barb, unlike their stingray cousins. They do have teeth but only on their lower jaws which help them chew and swallow their food.

However, these teeth are not sharp enough to cut through human flesh. This means that manta rays have no means to harm a human, so there is no danger whilst swimming with manta rays.

If you do get a little close for comfort to a manta ray, they will flee the scene quickly. They typically swim at speeds of around 14/kmh but can swim in swift bursts of up to 35/kmh to evade uncomfortable situations.

This is why it’s important to respect manta rays and never do anything to startle them.

Can I Touch A Manta Ray?

Being so close to a wild manta ray can be a magical experience, and in the moment many people can get a little carried away and try to touch, stroke, or even ride these animals.

This is a huge no-no, and should never be done under any circumstances.

Whilst snorkeling with manta rays you should always keep a safe distance and allow them a comfortable space, don’t try to touch them or be too intrusive if taking a photo.

You should never touch a wild animal in the ocean, although a manta ray cannot harm you, it’s good practice to always keep your distance as there are many marine creatures that can seriously harm you.

Manta rays have a mucous coating that protects them from bacteria in the ocean that could soak into their skin. When a human touches a manta ray, the oils in your hand can damage the coating and weaken the manta ray’s immune system.

When you factor in the many times wild manta rays come into contact with humans, and multiply the number of times humans try to touch them, you can really see the impact that touching a manta ray can have on their health.

If every snorkeler decides to touch the manta rays this could significantly impact the manta population in that area, which is why it’s incredibly important to NEVER touch a manta ray.

Besides the fact that it’s harming their health, it can also be a real deterrent for manta rays. They are wild animals after all and are allowing you to get close enough to them to have a wonderful experience.

But there is a line that should not be crossed, and once you reach your hand out oftentimes the manta will be startled and will flee, ruining the moment for everyone.

Touching manta rays is completely immoral and goes against the magical experience of swimming with them. Maintain your distance, respect, and allow the mantas to simply be in their natural habitat.

Final Thoughts

To answer the question, yes manta rays are friendly toward humans. They are well aware that we are not a danger to them so are comfortable with letting humans swim with them.

However, they are wild animals and must be respected at all times. Under no circumstances should you ever touch a manta ray or invade its personal space.

Keep this in mind when you’re swimming with them and you are sure to have an amazing experience.

Remember that mantas are much different from stingrays, and being able to tell them apart is incredibly important.

Stingrays strike fear into the hearts of snorkelers, but mantas are magical and are not dangerous to humans at all.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you now have an answer to are manta rays friendly? Absolutely!

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you’ve learned a thing or two about manta rays.