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Whopper stingray on show at aquarium

The giant stingray expected to pull in visitors to aquarium Credit: Sea Life Blackpool

The animal care team at Sea Life Blackpool have welcomed a 1.5 metre Jenkins Whiptail Ray to the centre's 500,000 litre Ocean Display.

The giant ray joined 20 sharks and an array of tropical fish.

In preparation for the arrival of the new stingray, the team at Sea Life Blackpool have undergone an intensive training programme to ensure they are kept safe from the rays famous and dangerous whip-like tail and barb.

Scott Blacker, curator at Sea Life Blackpool, said:

"We're used to regularly coming into contact with our tropical sharks including the 2.75 metre sandbar shark and know how to read their behaviours to stay safe.

This is our first large stingray and so the whole team have been specially trained in how to handle and care for this amazing creature whilst staying safe themselves.

"The whip tail is approximately one metre in length and carries a 10 cm barb which is the animal's defensive weapon and can cause serious injury.

The training programme will not only teach our expert diving team the correct handling for the animal but also what to do in the case of injury."

Fed daily on a diet of squid, whiting, pouting and mackerel, the divers at the centre hope to be able to train the ray to come to the surface to take food from their hands and form part of the daily interactive talks and feeding times the centre runs.