An Enquirer.com Special Section FRIDAY, MAY 14, 1999
Hours, prices, and other information were current at time of publication and may have changed.

shark

THE AQUARIUM
- Introduction
- Going there
- The murals
- The music
- Shop and Eat
- Beginnings

THE EXHIBITS

- World Rivers
- Shore Gallery
- Touch Pool
- Bizarre & Beautiful
- Dangerous & Deadly
- Riverbank
- 'Gator Bayou
-Amazon Rain Forest
- Coral Reef
- Jellyfish Gallery
- Kingdom of Penguins
- Ray Nursery
- Repopulation
- Surrounded by Sharks

THE STAFF

- Staff and keepers
Oceanic Adventures Newport Aquarium] [Building image]
Ray Nursery
Shy stingrays, gentle and disarmed of their stingers, glide by at eye level

        Stingrays are found worldwide and are commonly misunderstood. Many fear the sting of these winged sea creatures, but in actuality they are not aggressive. Most recorded incidents of stings from rays resulted from waders who accidentally stepped on the animal's back startling it and forcing a defensive reaction.

        Stingrays are bottom feeders and scavenge the substratum for small animals. They have large fins that resemble wings and when they swim it looks more like they are flying through the water. They are generally shy when they are both young and old.

        In an elevated pool, small and young stingrays will rest in shallow water and cover themselves in the sand. Visitors will discover first-hand that rays' skin is tough but smooth. The stingers have all been removed

Origins
        Southern Stingrays range from New Jersey to Brazil. Atlantic Stingrays swim from Chesapeake Bay to South Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico. Yellow Stingrays live from Florida to northern South America.

Costs
        It costs only $15-$25 per week to feed the rays frozen food. That's 5-6 pounds of shrimp, squid, smelts and clams.

What fish eat
        Stingrays of all types typically mine the bottom for tiny organisms that they expose by jetting water into the sand. Some lay still and make a shelter that attracts prey underneath the ray, near its mouth.

How big do they get?
        Yellow Stingrays can grow to 14 inches. Southern Stingrays can be around 6 feet in diameter while Atlantic Stingrays will top out at 2 feet.

What you won't see
        Although stingrays are fascinating to touch, their barbs can be painful, especially if embedded into the skin of visitors to the ray exhibit. To keep the experience pain free, keepers use ordinary bolt cutters to de-barb the rays. The stingrays' barbs continue to grow, much like fingernails, which means the bolt cutters are brought out on a regular basis.

        Like the animals in Touch Pool, keepers will make sure the stingrays are regularly rested. Overhandling isn't good for them.

Exhibit by the numbers
        1 inch is the length of their stinger

        2-7 pups are born at one time to a Southern Stringray

        6 feet is their maximum size

        2,800 gallons of salt water

        3,125 pounds of sand

Stars of the Tank
        Yellow Ray: Usually lemon yellow in color, the Yellow Ray will change colors to match the surface below. By raising their fronts, the rays create shelter that attracts prey in waters from Florida to the northern part of South America.

        Southern Ray: Southern rays swim using a rippling motion of their pectoral muscles. Females give birth to two to five pups after each gestation period. They range from New Jersey to Brazil.

        Atlantic Ray: One of the smallest rays in its family, The Atlantic Ray likes to bury itself in the sand and eat crustaceans.



The Tristate is Goin' Fishin'
Going to the Aquarium
Murals bring seascapes to life
Music sets the mood for 16 exhibits
Shop, eat and watch a movie
The making of an aquarium
World Rivers
Shore Gallery
Touch Pool
Bizarre & Beautiful
Dangerous & Deadly
Riverbank
'Gator Bayou
Amazon Rain Forest
Coral Reef
Jellyfish Gallery
Kingdom of Penguins
- Ray Nursery
Repopulation
Surrounded by Sharks
Meet the staff and keepers

Copyright 1999 The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper.
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