Surprise! 400-pound spotted eagle ray jumps into family's boat, gives birth
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab says that it's extremely rare to see an eagle ray, let alone have one jump in a boat
A family fishing off the Alabama coast was not expecting a spotted eagle ray to come aboard their boat Friday.
April Jones told Fox News Digital that she and her family were participating in the 2022 Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo near Dauphin Island when the ray jumped out of the water and into their boat.
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Jones says they were packing up to move to another spot when they felt the flop. That's when they saw the giant ray on the back of their boat.
"We thought she'd be able to get herself out of the boat, but due to her weight, she couldn't get herself out. We tried to get her out, but she weighed too much," Jones told Fox News Digital. They estimated the ray to be around 400 pounds.
Jones' family started making their way back to shore, making sure to continuously put water on the massive fish.
"We drove to the closest boat launch, which happened to be where the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was," Jones added. "I ran into the lab to see if anyone could help get her out. In the meantime, some people had come to the boat and helped her get out."
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As they tried to move the ray, they found that she had delivered four babies.
Unfortunately, experts with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab determined that the four newborns were not alive.
"It's not uncommon for wild animals to release their young when they feel their life is in danger," Brian Jones, curator of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, told Fox News Digital. "[Pregnant rays] are known to produce young when captured by fishermen. Occasionally, these young are fully developed and are able to swim away successfully. At other times, the young are produced prematurely and do not survive."
The lab kept the four babies for research, and the spotted eagle ray was released back into the water.