‘Smiling’ sea creature grimaces as horror of becoming seal’s dinner dawns

A seal has been photographed off the coast of Anglesey, Wales, tucking into a ray.

The images were captured by Stuart Benson while he was kayaking with his partner Cathy along the coast near Rhosneigr.

Stuart captioned the images "smiley face" and shared them online. People couldn't help but notice how the kite-shaped ray appeared to grimace as the predator carried it to some nearby rocks to start feasting, reports NorthWalesLive.

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Professional pension schemes trustee Stuart said: “As we were in a tandem kayak, Cathy paddled closer as I got out my camera from a waterproof bag. There were a couple of seals and one suddenly popped up holding its prey.

“It took ages for the seal to eat it, perhaps two or three minutes, which gave me time to take photos using a long lens. At one point the ray wrapped itself around the seal’s head – but there was no getting away.”

Social media users were struck by the ray’s expressions as it fought for its life. Its underside has a mouth as well as nasal openings that resemble eyes.

“Don’t think it’s smiling!” said one. Another added: "I do find it somewhat amusing they have that facial appearance which just doesn't help in some situations!" Others labelled the images "incredible" and "amazing".

Identification of skates and rays can be tricky but, according to NorthWalesLive, this was likely a Thornback ray. Capable of growing to 4ft from wingtip to wingtip, Thornback rays are usually found next to rocky outcrops when they venture closer to shore in search of crustaceans.

Atlantic Grey Seals are a regular sight around Anglesey’s rocky coves and secluded inlets, feeding on fish, molluscs and crustaceans. September usually marks the start of the pupping season.

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