Jersey Shore Cownose Rays

If you have been visiting many seaside towns in Cape May County in the past two weeks you would have noticed schools of rays playing close to the shoreline.


After sharing pictures and videos of these rays you all had great questions about why this was happening. I decided to do a little research to answer your questions.

Before we get started, I wanted to thank the Chesapeake Bay Program for providing us with most of the information below.

The rays you have been seeing on the shoreline are called cownose rays. These rays are a brown, kite-shaped ray with a long pointy tail. They are a highly migratory species along the Atlantic Coast that visits our shallow waters in summer each year to give birth and mate.

In June or July each summer the male and the female make their way to our bays to mate. After mating has completed the male ray leaves and the female ray stays until mid October.

The gestation period for the female is 11-months. Once born they baby rays are called pups. They pups could grow up to 45 lbs and 7 feet wide (adult size).

These rays swim like a bird under water. They use their fins in an up and down motion to propel themselves forward. Some confuse cownose rays fins to shark fins due to the tips of the fins breaking the surface.

Cownose rays are found worldwide and are pretty calm creatures. Many of the aquariums that you visit have cownose rays in their touch pools.

It is suggested that you don’t touch the Cownose rays as they do have a barb on their tail. While this might sound dangerous, it is uncommon for you to get injured by one.

Hopefully this answers some of your questions about cownose rays. If you happen to see any snap a photo or a video and send it to us at

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