Posts Tagged 'animal facts'

Did you know? Today is Manatee Appreciation Day!

Sometimes called sea cows, manatees are a large, but graceful, endangered species that thrive in warm-water environments ripe with vegetation. The West Indian manatee, one of three living species, can be spotted off the coast of Florida year round.

manatee

Here are ten things you may not know about manatees! 

  1.  Manatees are a migratory species, sometimes traveling up the East Coast in the warmer summer months—some have even been spotted in Maryland.
  2. These herbivores feed on patches of vegetation on the sea floor and can eat up to 1/10 of their body weight in just one day!
  3. With a diet sometimes rich in sand, Manatees’ teeth are made for grinding, not biting, and are constantly being replaced.
  4. Some waterways in Florida have manatee “speed zones” to protect these gentle creatures from boat collisions, one of the leading causes of injury and death in manatees.
  5. Manatees’ closest living relatives are elephants and hyraxes, small mammals found in Africa and the Middle East.
  6. Slow moving, manatees typically travel at about 5 miles per hour but have been known to swim faster in short bursts.
  7. Some manatee species can travel freely between salt and freshwater.
  8. Manatees have to visit the surface for air, but can stay underwater for up to 20 minutes while at rest.
  9. Manatee calves are dependent on their mothers for up to two years. When a calf is born, its mother must help it to the surface for air, but most can swim on their own shortly after birth.
  10. It is believed that the legendary “mermaids” spotted by sailors throughout history were actually manatees.

Being the gentle, slow-moving animals that they are have put manatees at risk of extinction in the face of oil spills, increased motorboat traffic and entanglement. These animals were first listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1967 and their population numbers have increased in recent years, but there is still much work to do protect manatees and the habitats they depend on.

To learn more about how to get involved in manatee conservation efforts in here in the United States, click here

Happy World Frog Day!

Can YOU freeze during winter hibernation, thaw, and continue on? Yeah, we didn’t think so… 

In celebration of World Frog Day, we’ve put together an infographic that highlights some of our favorite amphibian facts!

national aquarium frog infographic

Did you know? The word amphibian comes from the Greek word amphibios, which refers to the fact that the early life stages of many frogs are aquatic and that the adult stages are generally terrestrial.

There are approximately 6,000 known species of frog found worldwide (on every continent except Antarctica)! Frogs are especially prevalent in North and South America! Not all frogs are poisonous, but run-ins with those that do posses toxins can be fatal.

Join us in sharing your love for frogs on Facebook and Twitter

New Infographic: Whale You Be Our Valentine?

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, our newest infographic is all about love in the aquatic world!

Did you know? A courtship dance between mated seahorses can last more than 7 hours! While mating, some seahorses change color and twirl around with their tails linked!

Male humpback whales breach and do acrobatic stunts in the hopes that their moves will “woo” their chosen females!

Check out our infographic for even more animal love facts:

national aquarium love infographic

Want to share our infographic with your animal-loving friends? Click here to “spread the love” via Facebook!

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Happy World Octopus Day!

Did you know? Today is (the 10th annual) World Octopus Day!

Octopuses (yes, THAT is the correct plural of octopus) are cephalopods – a class name derived from the Greek word cephalopoda, meaning “head-feet.” These incredibly unique animals are characterized by their bilateral symmetry, a body shape that primarily includes a large head and set of arms or tentacles.

Out of the 800 identified living species of cephalopods, 300 of those species are octopuses! Here at the Aquarium, we have a giant Pacific octopus on exhibit. We spoke to Aquarist Katie Webster about what it’s like to care for it:

Octopuses are among the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom. In total, an octopus has 500 million neurons, located in both its brain and throughout its arms. In addition to grabbing onto prey and climbing rocky underwater structures, an octopus uses its suckers to taste and sense.

Check out this awesome infographic to learn even more about these incredible animals: 

national aquarium octopus infographic

It’s Sea Otter Awareness Week!

This week is the annual recognition of some of the oceans’ cutest residents, sea otters!

sea otters

Did you know? Sea otters hold hands when sleeping so as to not float apart!

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Sea Otter Awareness Week, here are ten fun facts about these incredible animals: 

  1. Sea otters sleep, eat, hunt, mate and give birth in the water! They’ll oftentimes use kelp or giant seaweed to anchor themselves nicely in groups.
  2. Their dense, water-repellent fur keep sea otters dry and warm!
  3. Sea otters hunt for their food on the seafloor, but always return to the surface when it’s time to eat.
  4. Floating on their backs, otters will oftentimes use their chests as tables. If the meal of the day is a mollusk or crab, the ever-resourceful otter will also use a rock to crack open its prey!
  5. Sea otter coats have “pockets!” They’ve been observed using the flaps of skin found under each front leg to stash prey during their dives.
  6. Sea otters can reach up to 4 feet in length!
  7. The average life span of a sea otter is 23 years.
  8. Sea otters are meticulously clean animals. They spend hours grooming their fur everyday!
  9. Considered a keystone species, sea otters are critically important to the health of coastline marine ecosystems! They prey upon sea urchins and other invertebrates that destructively graze on giant kelp. Kelp forests are home to a wide diversity of animals, help protect coastlines from storm surge and absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide!
  10. Because they were regularly hunted for their fur, sea otters were in serious danger of extinction in the early 20th century – only approximately 2,000 were left in the wild. Their numbers have jumped up since being granted protection as an endangered species.

Help us celebrate Sea Otter Awareness Week by sharing your favorite otter fact in the comments section! 


Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 236 other followers