Do Mantas Feel Pain – and How do they Heal when they get Injured? [Video]

Mar 24, 2018 | About Manta Rays

Manta rays are calm and pacific animals with very few predators – but they can get injured. Most of the time, humans are the cause of their injuries – but they can also get wounded by natural causes.

In this article, we’ll dive into whether mantas can feel pain – and also into the question of how they heal after an injury.

We were able to track two mantas that recovered from deep wounds caused by fishing lines/hooks and it was interesting to learn how the healing process worked for them.

How Melainah Ray Recovered from a Fishing Line Injury

Between 2011 to 2013 we saw Melainah Ray, a manta female of ~10 feet wingspan, on a very regular basis when we took guests to swim with the mantas.

She came to feed at both dive sites at least 200 times per year and often traveled the distance of 16-20 miles from the airport location to our manta viewing site at Keauhou (and vice-versa) within 24-48 hours. It was cool to see her movements along the coastline as there is not much known about that.

On February 25th of 2011, Melainah showed up with a deep cut on her right wing.

The poor manta was clearly experiencing pain. She looked like she was “limping”: she was trying to feed around the lights, but her movements were slow and careful. It appeared as if she did not want to use her wing too much; an impossible task for a winged creature who has to keep swimming constantly to stay alive.

We wanted to help her, but of course, that was another impossible task. Not only are mantas wild and free animals who wouldn’t just accept help from humans; also, wounds like this need to heal themselves.

In the following months, Melainah Ray continued to come and feed at the manta ray viewpoints. We were able to record videos and take pictures of her healing process. I compiled it into one video that you can watch here.

The picture above shows the cut when we first saw it in February, and a little over three months later in May.

It’s quite astonishing to see how it got better over time and I am glad that we can report a happy ending.

The video also reveals the story of Hans Ray and how he recovered from a nasty hook that almost cut off his cephalic fin…another fantastic happy ending.

Become a Manta Ray Advocate today

Learn more about manta rays with our free ebook, “Fun Facts & Figures about Manta Rays”.

It’s a great conversation starter for Manta Ray Advocates of all ages… and it will tell you everything you always wanted to know about mantas!

Comments

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mantas in this post

Doug Ray

Doug Ray

WINGSPAN 8-10 feet

GENDER Male

SPECIES Mobula Alfredi (reef)

Hans Ray

Hans Ray

WINGSPAN 6-8 feet

GENDER Male

SPECIES Mobula Alfredi (reef)

Melainah Ray

Melainah Ray

WINGSPAN 8-10 feet

GENDER Female

SPECIES Mobula Alfredi (reef)

More things you’ll love!

Decoding The Life Cycle of Manta Rays – and Our Role in Their Survival

Decoding The Life Cycle of Manta Rays – and Our Role in Their Survival

5 Inspiring YouTube Videos about Marine Life and the Ocean

5 Inspiring YouTube Videos about Marine Life and the Ocean

The 7 Extraordinary Senses of Manta Rays

The 7 Extraordinary Senses of Manta Rays

How Citizen Science contributes to our Knowledge of Manta Rays

How Citizen Science contributes to our Knowledge of Manta Rays

How Climate Change affects Manta Rays

How Climate Change affects Manta Rays

Why is it Important to Protect Manta Rays?

Why is it Important to Protect Manta Rays?

We participate in referral programs, and this website contains affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking a link on this website, we may get a commission – at no extra cost for you.

We only include products we love and wholeheartedly recommend. Read more here.

Free Downloads

Manta Ray Facts & Figures Ebook

Amaze your friends and family members with your knowledge of the gentle giants.

→ GRAB YOUR COPY

Guide to Swimming with Manta Rays

All the things you need to know before you embark on this adventure of a lifetime.

→ GET IT NOW

10 Tips for Marine Photography

Learn to capture life-changing moments underwater.

→ I NEED THIS

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!