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Woman on boat gets hit by a rare eagle ray that jumps on her boat to give birth
She gave birth to 4 pups on the boat!
Jaclyn Abergas
07.27.22

April Jones was at the back of the boat when something heavy hit the right side of her body.

“We were participating in the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. We were out fishing off the coast of the Sand Island Lighthouse on Friday and I wasn’t catching anything — but my son, husband, and husband’s father all were,” April shared.

They were helping April get a fish to catch but there weren’t any bites so they were packing up to head to a different spot.

YouTube - WKRG
Source:
YouTube - WKRG

When they were pulling away, they heard a loud splash at the back of the boat.

“I felt something hit me,” April explained. “And then I see this big blob flopping around in the back of the boat.”

April had started screaming and there were so many things breaking at the back of the boat because of this big blob.

The big blob turned out to be a giant 400-lb rare spotted eagle ray.

YouTube - WKRG
Source:
YouTube - WKRG

They tried to place her back in the water but at 400 lbs, she was too heavy, even for them.

“We made some calls for help [to try getting it out],” April said. “But she was so heavy that she was also weighing the boat down, and we were getting water in the back of the boat. We made the decision to get back to shore.”

April and her family were doing their best to keep her alive since it was still a 15 to 20-minute boat ride to the nearest shore.

YouTube - WKRG
Source:
YouTube - WKRG

They kept dumping her with water throughout the entire journey.

“We drove to the closest boat launch, which happened to be where the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was,” April continued. “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.”

YouTube - WKRG
Source:
YouTube - WKRG

And when they arrived at the boat launch, that’s when they discovered the eagle ray gave birth to her babies on the boat.

She had delivered four babies among the chaos and they had no idea when it happened.

YouTube - WKRG
Source:
YouTube - WKRG

It turns out that when eagle rays are placed in stressful situations, they give birth if they’re pregnant.

“It’s not uncommon for wild animals to release their young when they feel their life is in danger. This is surely an adaptation that gives the parents a better chance at producing offspring and passing along their genes in the population,” Brian Jones, curator of the Alabama Aquarium, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, explained.

But the reason the Jones family did not notice the baby rays was because they weren’t moving. They were already dead.

YouTube - WKRG
Source:
YouTube - WKRG

“[Eagle 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,” Brian Jones added.

The babies were donated to the Sea Lab and the mama eagle ray was thrown back into the water.

YouTube - WKRG
Source:
YouTube - WKRG

Meanwhile, April had to go to the ER because she suffered a shoulder strain from getting hit by the heavy ray.

YouTube - WKRG
Source:
YouTube - WKRG

Want to hear more about their rare experience? Watch the video below.

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By Jaclyn Abergas
hi@sbly.com
Jaclyn Abergas is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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