Stingray scoops a snack from the king of ocean predators

2012-01-11 00:00

STELLENBOSCH — A stingray stole bait from under the nose of a great white shark near Gansbaai recently, despite the fact that sharks hunt rays.

Tourists in a boat operated by shark cage diving outfit Marine Dynamics were treated to the extremely rare sight, and one of them caught it on video.

The clip can now be seen on YouTube, titled “Stingray grabs bait ahead of Great White Shark”.

Wilfred Chivell, owner of Marine Dynamics and chair of the Dyer Island conservancy in Gansbaai, said it was the first time in about 7 000 cage diving excursions that he had seen something like that.

In the video, it is clear the ray is not intimidated by the presence of the big predator and grabs the bait from the boat’s lure, forcing the young 2,5-metre shark to leave empty-mouthed.

At first, the people on the boat are heard commenting on the ray, and then screaming in amazement as the scene plays out.

Brenda Walters, CEO of the conservancy, said the whole event was rare because rays are bottom dwel­lers and are seldom seen by people in boats.

“Usually sharks would hunt stingrays, but there was a big difference in the sizes of the two fish, and it seems the shark chose to swim away. It was all very interesting,” she said.

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