In the alternate universe of Phoenix Zoo’s stingray exhibit, Dierks Bentley is a bit feisty with a big personality, Dolly Parton is Luke Bryan’s mom, and Keith Urban is a green little dude with blue spots.
Last October, Luke Bryan was scheduled to perform in Phoenix, Arizona. That’s when the zoo invited him to personally come and meet his puppy of the sea counterpart.
Come to find out, according to AZ Central, Luke Bryan is only one of the dozen or so stingrays sporting country names at the zoo. There’s also Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Dolly, the biggest ray in the tank, is Luke’s mama.
Seems fitting that the biggest fish in the little pond would be Dolly Parton, dontcha think?
Keepers say the first stingray with a country star name was named for hometown boy, Dierks Bentley.
“Dierks was the first, because he’s our local boy,” stingray keeper Kelsey Ray said. “The stingray we named after him is a little bit feisty. He has a big personality.”
Apparently the cute names aren’t just for entertainment value, they also serve an important purpose in stingray-human relations.
“It helps people attach to the animals,” Belko said. “It’s something people aren’t used to here because we’re in a desert. It takes away the fear and gets people interested in the animals, which is what we’re all about at the Phoenix Zoo.”
Oh, and the stingrays aren’t the only famous names in the pool. Apparently the tank also contains four bamboo sharks named after “Game of Thrones” characters, including Jon, Daenerys, Arya and Khal Drogo.
And with that, I have officially added the Arizona Zoo to my bucket list.