Footy-Loving Stingrays Enjoy a Pre-World Cup Final Kickabout

Ahead of today’s FIFA World Cup final, Sea Life London Aquarium‘s stingrays have been enjoying a kickabout of their own. Refereed by their keepers, six of the aquarium’s rays embarked on their own version of the beautiful game. In doing so, they swam rings around one another in pursuit of the ball.

That’s likely thanks in no small part to the fact that the green, specially 3D-printed football was filled with their favourite grub. Of course, more sceptical minds may write the whole thing off as merely an effort to jump on the World Cup bandwagon. And while that may not necessarily be a million miles from the truth, the rays’ recent kickabout wasn’t just at the behest of Sea Life London Aquarium’s marketing department.

Oh no. That’s because, entirely aside from a free lunch, the stingrays also benefited in other ways. Chasing around their food-filled football was an altogether new experience for the fish. Intended to encourage mental stimulation, footage from the underwater footy match shows just how engaged the rays were.

So, not only is Sea Life London’s marketing department happy, but so are the aquarium’s stingrays – all freshly and suitably mentally stimulated ahead of today’s FIFA World Cup final as a result! The spectacle also demonstrates nicely how the rays combined their sense of smell, problem-solving abilities, and some great teamwork to extricate their lunch from the unique football used for the match.

All stingrays, both saltwater and freshwater, are intelligent creatures. That means it’s vital that keepers of these often weird and wonderful fish regularly encourage problem-solving efforts and other natural behaviours as a part of their care.