Enrichment and training are important parts of behavioural husbandry. They can be used to help encourage natural behaviours, to present physical and mental challenges and to reduce stress for our animals when keepers or vets need to get close to them.

Keepers at Living Coasts have been target training the two species of ray to help reduce aggression and improve welfare at feeding times. 

Different coloured circular targets are lowered into the water simultaneously - the blue-spotted ribbon tail rays have to approach the black target while the blue-spotted stingrays have a white target. Once they touch the target, the keepers reward them with food presented on a grabber arm.

This is possible thanks to Dylan, a 7-year-old boy whose favourite animals to visit at Living Coasts are the rays. Dylan has some general and social anxiety and he finds that seeing the rays can help calm those feelings down. He very generously donated two of the grabbers used to train the rays that he purchased with his pocket money!

Our keepers train the rays nearly every day with this equipment - you can learn more about them at our daily talk and feed in the Mysterious Mangroves at 12.30. For the chance to feed them yourself, book a Ray Experience.

If you would like to donate enrichment items to Living Coasts, have a look at our Enrichment Wish List on Amazon. The list of toys and equipment has been put together by our behavioural management voluntary workers and keepers for the animals at our zoo and aquarium. Click here to view the wish list.


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