This is a manta ray and it is the largest species of ray. It may look intimidating, but it is actually a gentle creature. They are filter feeders, like most whales, so they eat microscopic animals like plankton and zoo-plankton. They swallow large amounts of water and filter the plankton out and release the water out through their gills. Also like whales, they sometimes jump out of the water, for an unknown reason. They can reach up to 23 feet in length and nearly 2,000 pounds. The manta ray is very docile and is open to human contact, however, they were hunted for their meat until they became vulnerably threatened. Now they are protected in international waters from hunting.
In everyday life, some things may seem intimidating or scary, even people, but they might actually be kind and harmless, like the manta ray. We should remember that things aren’t always what they seem. We all know not to “judge a book by it’s cover”, maybe we should also “not judge a ray by it’s size”? I know. It’s bad. Just disregard it and carry on. First impressions aren’t everything.