(CMR) Experts said a stingray in a viral TikTok video that appeared to be laughing as it was being tickled was actually suffocating.
Earlier this month, a TikTok user posted a video of what appears to be a baby stingray laying on its back on a boat, as the person, with gloved hands, tickles the belly of the aquatic creature. In response to the tickle, the stingray can be seen curling up its wings, opening its mouth, and forming a shape similar to a smile.
While the TikTok user appeared to be ecstatic at getting the stingray to smile, experts say the stingray’s response in this video, which went viral with over 100 million views, indicates it suffocating to death.
“This stingray is clearly suffocating to death. The scientific literature is quite clear. Like all fish, stingrays have the capacity to feel pain,” Ben Williamson, the programs director of the nonprofit organization World Animal Protection in the US, told the media.