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Meet Madonna-mad Merlin the Cownose Ray

Lifestyle

Meet Madonna-mad Merlin the Cownose Ray

To mark the end of Animal Care Week SEA LIFE Bray has released images of its smiley cownose ray, Merlin.

Merlin, whose cheerful face helps boost the happiness and wellbeing of others at the aquarium, was born in 2017 and is the first-ever cownose ray to be born in Ireland and guests can usually spot her swimming amongst the sharks in Caribbean Cove.

Despite their venomous spines, rays are incredibly gentle creatures, and the curvature of Merlin’s mouth means she is constantly cheering up staff with her smiley and approachable appearance.

Not only that… but she is mad for Madonna, every time the Animal Care team blast out one of the pop star’s hits, she can be seen coming up to the glass with a huge grin on her face.

Unsurprisingly, her favourite is Ray of Light, with the creature visibly swimming faster and rising to the surface more as the 90s anthem plays. With 2022 marking 40 years since the iconic singer-songwriter first released music, Merlin will undoubtedly be enjoying some anthems throughout the aquarium!

Pat Ó Súilleabháin, General Manager at SEA LIFE Bray:

“A smile truly does brighten up one’s day, that’s why everyone here at SEA LIFE Bray loves Merlin and our other 12 rays who call SEA LIFE their home. Whilst the species has a reputation to be venomous creatures, they are soft, loveable, and very friendly.

“Merlin is quite famous within the aquarium as she was the first ever cownose ray to be born in Ireland, she’s also a HUGE Madonna fan too! She constantly gives staff and visitors a smile, but if we play Madonna for her, she becomes even more joyous inside the tank – it’s wonderful to see!”

Located on the beautiful Victorian promenade on Bray’s seafront, SEA LIFE Bray houses over 1,200 animals, representing habitats for Ireland, Europe and tropical waters from all over the world. In total the centre is home to 13 rays including 5 different species: six Atlantic Cownose Stingrays, one Southern Fiddler Ray, one Blue Spotted Ray, two Blonde Rays and three Cuckoo Rays.

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