The animal care team at The Seas with Nemo & Friends welcomed a pup of a different sort to the Epcot family. A spotted female eagle ray baby (the babies are called “pups”) was born on March 16.
Both the 160-pound mom and 5-pound baby are being cared for backstage at The Seas, but Mom will be back in guest view in the 5.7 million gallon saltwater main aquarium within the next few weeks and baby will follow soon after.
The pup passed her baby wellness exam with flying colors. Now, the team is monitoring her growth and training her to come to a target for feeding – her food includes clams, mussels, shrimp, squid and a special vitamin supplement.
The Seas animal care team reports that this is the second time that this mom has given birth. They are thrilled because the spotted eagle ray is a challenging animal to breed and the breeding program at The Seas is contributing to knowledge of this species’ life history to help protect them in the wild. Eagle rays, which are found worldwide in subtropical and temperate seas, are a protected species in Florida.
Spotted Eagle Ray Fun Facts:
- Spotted eagle rays, which can have an eight-foot wingspan, are known to “fly” out of the water.
- Their spots can be used to identify individual animals.
- Plates in their mouths are modified teeth, which they use to eat shellfish.
How exciting. Learned something new today. Do they usually have one pup at a time? Are there species in the tank that can threaten the young pup and is that why she is not in the main tank? I’m assuming the pups are on their own after they are born?
So glad you enjoyed the post! To answer your questions: The Seas animal care team said they typically see two pups to a litter. During the first few weeks after they are born, the pups are kept separate for their protection and for training, which helps us with their care. In the wild, eagle ray moms do not provide care after the pups are born. The pups just swim away.