Swimming with manta rays, or hahalua in Hawaiian, is a top bucket-list activity for many visitors to the Hawaiian Islands. 

However, when you first hear about swimming with manta rays, you may wonder if that is safe to do. We understand that it can be worrisome at first, after all, manta rays are wild animals. However, that’s what Kona Style is here for. 

Keep reading below for the answer to the question “Is swimming with manta rays safe?” and other great facts about manta rays as you visit, or prepare to visit, the Big Island of Hawaii.

IS SWIMMING WITH MANTA RAYS ACTUALLY SAFE?

The primary reason why people get worried when they hear about this activity is that they confuse manta rays with stingrays. Stingrays have stingers in their tails that can be dangerous for humans. However, it is not the case with manta rays. Manta rays are calm and friendly creatures. They peacefully glide through the water. The manta rays are one of the largest creatures in the ocean, so if you plan to swim with them, be prepared for their sheer size which can be intimidating at first. In this blog, you’ll see that manta rays are completely harmless to humans. 

SOME FACTS ABOUT MANTA RAYS

To make your experience meeting manta rays even more fun, here are some facts about manta rays: 

SPECIES

Manta rays and stingrays are related creatures, but they’re not the same. Manta rays belong to the genus Mobula, and two widely known species exist. The first one is the reef manta ray (Manta alfredi), and the other one is the giant manta ray (Manta birostris). As their name suggests, the giant manta rays are much larger than the reef mantas. The two species also differ in their colors and skin appearance. 

APPEARANCE, SIZE AND SPEED

Both species of manta rays are dark-colored at the top and usually white (with a few black spots) at the bottom. The average width of the reef manta ray is 3 to 3.5 meters, and it can weigh around 1,300kg. On the other hand, the average width of the giant manta ray can be around 5 meters, and it can weigh 2,000kg. The average speed of a manta ray is around 14km/h. However, in some cases, they can also move at a speed of about 35km/h.

TEETH

Although manta rays have a cartilaginous skeleton, which is a property they share with sharks, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to teeth. Manta rays have teeth in their lower jaws that are used for chewing their food. However, these teeth are not sharp at all. Each tooth has a blunt crown on top, so it cannot really harm human flesh. A surprising fact, according to Elasmo research, is that manta rays have around 300 rows of these teeth.

DEFENSE

So, if these giant rays do not have any teeth, how do they protect themselves against killer whales and other predators? Well, firstly, they have a giant size and wingspan. Any predator thinks twice before coming near them. Secondly, manta rays are speedy and agile. They can swiftly glide through the water to escape their predators. 

DIET

Manta rays are known as filter feeders. It is because they move towards their food with their mouths wide open and pass the water and food through a filter structure inside their mouths. They mostly consume zooplankton in the form of shrimps, krill, and planktonic crabs. They may also ingest small to medium-sized fish in deep water, but it is a small portion of their overall diet. In total, the food consumption of manta rays equals around 12% of their total body weight per week!

THE MANTA RAY EXPERIENCE

Every year hundreds of visitors come to Hawaii to swim with these majestic sea creatures. We would recommend that you go on this fantastic adventure at least once in your life. Almost all manta ray snorkeling tours are night time excursions into the ocean to swim with these magnificent sea creatures in the darkness. This is because you can attract Plankton, the primary food source for manta rays, with a little bit of light. As a result, this is a lot easier to do at night.

SEE MANTA RAYS WITH KONA STYLE

Now that the confusion is all sorted out, you can experience the brilliance of the Big Island of Hawaii. Come and swim with the mantas and see them up close. We also offer snorkeling, sailing, and private boat charters to our clients. 

For unforgettable experiences swimming with manta rays, reach out to KONASTYLE. Contact us at 808-936-1323 for more information and bookings. Dive into adventure today!

KEALAKEKUA SNORKEL & SAIL

SUNSET & MANTA RAY SNORKEL

AFTERNOON MARINE ADVENTURE