‘Laughing’ Viral Stingray Being ‘Tickled’ Is Most Likely Suffocating To Death

A viral video showing a stingray being “tickled” and “laughing” is not as light-hearted as it first appears.

The video was shared by TikTok user and fisherman @mafishguy and it shows a stingray they’d caught and pulled onto the boat.

The ray is on its back and the TikToker asks, “How do you tickle a fish?” before proceeding to “tickle” the animal’s belly with a gloved hand.

Photo: TikTok/mafishguy

The stingray’s mouth opens and its lips are upturned, making it appear as if the ray is laughing.

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After receiving over 119 million views and nearly 14 million likes, experts are warning that the ray is not laughing at all, but instead, it’s actually suffocating to death.

Photo: TikTok/mafishguy

Many people in the comments genuinely believed the ray was genuinely laughing and thought it was adorable. Some even commented that they were hoping to try it for themselves, with one person writing, “My weekend plans are this.”

Thankfully, there were some people who recognized that the video was cruel to the animal and commented on that. Yet, there were others who realized the animal was suffering and not laughing, but didn’t see much of a problem with it, citing that it wouldn’t be too harmful or didn’t matter much.

Now, experts have spoken and it doesn’t look good.


Nothing to see here….just #tickling a #fish and making him #laugh

♬ original sound – Fishing Guy

In an interview with Business Insider, the program director for World Animal Protection in the US, Ben Williamson, said:

“This stingray is clearly suffocating to death. The scientific literature is quite clear. Like all fish, stingrays have the capacity to feel pain. Anatomically, physiologically, and biologically, the pain system in fish is virtually the same as in birds and mammals.”


He added that wild animals should always be left alone, including the stingray. He said, “Like all wild animals, stingrays should be left alone to live out their lives in peace, free from human interference and harmful hobbies, such as sportfishing.”

The fisherman who shared the clip on TikTok has posted other cruel videos, like one where he makes a joke out of cutting a tuna’s heart out. Considering that and his profession, it’s unlikely he cared at all about the stingray’s pain or suffering, but hopefully the expert’s warning can prevent others from committing similar acts of cruelty unknowingly.

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