Archive for the 'Dolphins' Category



Celebrating Moms of ALL Species!

In celebration of Mother’s Day weekend, we’d like you to meet some spectacular animal moms!

Dolphins
Dolphin moms & calves immediately form a strong bond. They’ll synchronize their breathing and swim patterns for the baby’s first few weeks of life – to keep as close as possible. These dedicated moms will nurse their young for up to 10 years!

dolphin mom and calf

Veteran dolphin moms will also mentor less-experienced females in their colony by allowing them to babysit their young and practice for when they have their own babies.

Giant Pacific Octopuses
Female giant Pacific octopuses have one primary goal: to have one successful brood of eggs in her lifetime.

giant pacific octopus

Females will lay about 200,000 eggs in their lair and defend them at any cost. During the seven months of caring for her eggs, the female octopus is often almost starved to death – she’d ingest a limb before leaving her post for food.

Strawberry Poison Arrow Frogs
After laying her eggs and watching them hatch, strawberry poison arrow frog moms will carry their tadpoles (one by one) from the rain forest floor up trees as high as 100 feet!

strawberry poison frog

Then, she’ll find individual pools of water in the tree leaves for each of her tadpoles to grow, keeping them safe from predators.

Alligators
Alligator moms will go to great lengths to protect their young, including carrying alligator babies in their jaws for protection!

baby alligators

Juvenile American alligators at National Aquarium, Washington, DC

Alligator babies will typically stay close to mom for their first year of life.

Celebrating Ivy’s first Mother’s Day!
This past year, our Linne’s two-toed sloth, Ivy, became a first-time mom to baby, Camden! Making this Mother’s Day a special one for our Aquarium family!

baby sloth

Ivy with her baby Camden!

Happy Birthday, Spirit!

National Aquarium is celebrating a very special birthday today! Spirit, one of our female dolphins, born at the Aquarium on April 13, 2001, is 12 years old today!

spirit - national aquarium dolphin

About Spirit

Gender: Female

dolphins eating at national aquarium

YUM! Spirit eats about 20.5 pounds of fish every day!

Weight: 380 pounds

Family Tree: Daughter of Nani (dam) and Nalu (sire)

spirit nani jade - national aquarium dolphins

Guests can often see Spirit playing with her mom, Nani, and friend, Jade!

How to Recognize Her: Spirit’s eyes are larger and darker in color. You can also recognize her by her crooked teeth in the lower right side of rostrum.

spirit - national aquarium dolphin

Trainer’s Note: Spirit is very playful and loves learning new behaviors. She is currently starting to practice a new move called a “fluke fling”!

Stop by today to see Spirit practice her new fluke move! Can’t come wish Spirit a Happy Birthday in person this weekend? Leave her a message on our Facebook page

Practicing Routine Dolphin Exams

Today’s post comes from our Senior Marine Mammal Trainer, Kerry Martens! 

At the National Aquarium we believe in and practice excellence in animal care. As trainers, we work with the animals every day, practicing medical behaviors that allow us to take the best possible care of them.

Each morning the dolphins get a visual check. They have been trained to present to us different parts of their bodies so we can check their skin and get a good look at their overall body condition.

dolphin body check

Next, we ask the animals to present their fluke. This is where the Veterinarians take a blood sample from. Routine blood samples are taken from our dolphins just like people get blood taken during check-ups with their doctors.

dolphin fluke

Besides looking at the overall body of the animal, there are a few other items we check out as well.

We check the dolphin’s teeth daily to make sure they are in good condition. Dolphins only have one set of pointy cone-shaped teeth for their entire lives!

dolphin teeth check

We also check their breath, or blow. All of the animals are trained to forcefully exhale on cue. Lastly, once a week, the animals get weighed. They are trained to haul up and out of the water onto a flat scale. Most of our dolphins weigh between 300-400 pounds, but Nani is over 500!

Nani on the scale!

Nani on the scale!

Once we finish their daily visual check we want to make sure to reward the dolphins for their good behavior. As trainers it is extremely important that we have strong positive relationships with each of the animals. Play time is a great way to build that relationship!

Chesapeake is ready for to play!

Chesapeake is ready for to play!

The information gathered from the visual checks not only allows us to take the best care of our dolphins, but share information with other aquariums and researchers as well. For information on the National Aquarium’s many ongoing research projects, visit our Research page!

Happy Birthday, Chesapeake!

National Aquarium is celebrating a very special birthday! Chesapeake, one of our female dolphins, born at the Aquarium on March 7, 1992, is 21 years old today!

Guests can recognize Chesapeake by her short rostrum!

Guests can recognize Chesapeake by her short rostrum!

About Chesapeake

Name meaning: She was the first of dolphin to be born at the Aquarium, so our trainers decided to name her in honor of the Chesapeake Bay!

Gender: Female

Weight: 380 pounds

Chesapeake with her calf Bayley shortly after her birth!

Chesapeake with her calf Bayley shortly after her birth!

Family Tree: Daughter of Shiloh (dam) and Akai (sire), mother to our youngest dolphin, Bayley!

How to Recognize Her: Chesapeake’s body is shorter overall and plump! Guests can recognize her by her short rostrum and slight under bite!

chesapeake

Chesapeake has a shorter overall body than the rest of our dolphins!

Trainer’s Note: Chesapeake is very energetic! She does a lot of high-energy behaviors like flips, breaches and porpoising! She eats about 39 pounds of fish a day!

Can’t come wish Chesapeake a Happy Birthday in person this weekend? Leave her a message on this interactive well wisher wall or on our Facebook page

Better yet, spend some one-on-one time with our birthday girl and her friends during our Dolphin Mornings behind-the-scenes immersion tour THIS Saturday, March 9!

MPT Feature Program: The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt

Throughout 2012, National Aquarium staff worked closely with Maryland Public Television to film and produce an educational, 30-minute special, “The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt!”

Tune in to watch the program at 8:00 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013!

“The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt”
This educational, live-action, family program follows the fictional students of South Town Middle school on their class field trip through the National Aquarium! But this time there’s a catch – Science Teacher Mr. Hedgeman has turned it into a Treasure Hunt!

The great aquarium treasure hunt with MPT at National Aquarium - Dewey and Trevor

Join Dewey and Trevor on a wild exploration of the National Aquarium, home to thousands of species of marine life!

Throughout their journey, the students meet and learn from National Aquarium experts.  They explore marine life of the Chesapeake Bay, go “down under” to visit the crocodiles of Australia, discover the frogs in an indoor rain forest and submerge into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for an up-close look at the array of deep sea life from sharks to rays to dolphins.

In the end, Dewey and Trevor will explore the entire aquarium, but can they be the first team to have all the answers before it’s too late? Tune in to find out!

Check out our exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from the filming below! 

A special thanks to all National Aquarium staff who were involved in the filming, especially our amazing on-screen stars: Allison, Beth, Jessica, Kyle and Andy!

In addition to airing on MPT, the program will be played at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai Hospital through its internal cable systems in patient rooms and waiting rooms.

Major funding for The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt is provided by LifeBridge Health.

Don’t forget to tune in to MPT for the premiere of “The Great Aquarium Treasure Hunt” at 8:00 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013!


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