Science

Premature baby ray ‘hatches' after two months in a plastic sandwich bag

The delicate creature settled into tank life after it was born almost a month early in December.

A premature baby ray has joined its siblings after spending two months in a plastic sandwich bag to save its life.

The delicate creature was still at the embryo stage when it was born in December, almost a month early, trapped in its egg case.

It would have died if Frazer Mackay, an aquarist at Macduff Marine Aquarium in Aberdeenshire, had not stepped in to put it in the bag.

The plastic bag acted as a protection sack, with tiny holes in each corner, allowing the creature to develop before it was eventually released into the nursery tank on Tuesday.

“You get to see the development of the juvenile so it’s really interesting to watch,” said Chris Rowe, displays officer at the aquarium.

Baby ray settles into life in the nursery tank
Baby ray settles into life in the nursery tank (Macduff Marine Aquarium/PA)

While not strictly a recognised technique to save baby rays, Mr Rowe said the procedure is quite normal in aquariums, having witnessed similar efforts in the past.

The juvenile’s first swim was understandably wobbly, but it settled gently to the bottom of the tank after overcoming the initial disorientation and began to swim several loops as it enjoyed its new freedom.

The baby ray’s gender will become identifiable once its body has developed, but for now staff at the aquarium are keeping a close eye on its progress.

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