Rays have been filmed splashing, gliding and diving in the underwater enrichment game where a football filled with their favourite fish is used to stimulate natural behaviours
It comes ahead of England’s last 16 World Cup fixture against Senegal this Sunday.
Diving may be frowned on at the World Cup but in the display tank there’s no need for VAR.
Six rays took part in the enrichment game which was refereed by expert aquarists.
While rays have special abilities to detect electric fields of living creatures when they hunt for food, in this case, they used their sense of smell to track down the tasty treats.
In a great display of teamwork, the rays dive towards the feedable football then bat it back and forth for more food to fall out and eat.
Rowena Kennedy, from the Sealife London Aquarium, said: “Our squad of rays have loved playing their own version of the beautiful game since we introduced the new enrichment plan for the start of the World Cup.
“Rays are intelligent creatures so it’s important that we encourage natural feeding behaviours and problem solving in their care plan.”
She added: “Our feeder footballs are a fun and stimulating way for the rays to eat as it encourages foraging behaviour and utilises their keen sense of smell as they would in the wild.”
Rays have been around for more than 150 million years and evolved from sharks. There are over 500 different species of rays and skates which live around Britain’s coastline.
Their bodies are made of cartilage like a human nose or ear making it perfect to glide past each other when playing football.