Posts Tagged 'Australia'



Animal Update – August 31

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

We’re experiencing quite the baby boom! 

As we first announced earlier this week, a new spiny-tailed monitor was born in the backup area of our Animal Plant Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit. But this is just one of many new family additions…

Spiny-tailed monitor hatchling

We also have turquoise tanager chicks flying around our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit. Our tanager flock continues to grow! We first announced the arrival of two chicks last month and we are so excited to have more of these adorable babies. You can see the majority of our family of tanagers flying around our Rain Forest now!

Turquoise tanager chick

And don’t forget our new baby screaming piha chick! Also born in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest, this baby is the first to be born in captivity in North America.

Blacktip Reef animals are on the move! 

Blacktip Reef renovations are coming soon and we’ve already started preparations with animal moves. Some of the animals you’re used to seeing in our Wings in the Water exhibit have been moved to their new homes within the Aquarium: Two large roughtail rays are now in Open Ocean exhibit and a cownose ray, two southern rays and a hogfish have all been moved to our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit. Additionally, over the last two weeks, our staff has worked closely with Georgia Aquarium staff to transport roughtail rays, cownose rays and barracudas to their new home at the Georgia Aquarium.

National Aquarium divers helps to collect animals from Wings in the Water
Photo courtesy of John Soule

Staff and volunteers safely moving a cownose ray from the Wings in the Water exhibit
Photo courtesy of John Soule

We still have a few more animals to move. Next Monday, we’ll be moving our zebra sharks Zeke and Zoe as well as our green sea turtle Calypso to our off-site Animal Care Center, where they will stay until they join their new friends in Blacktip Reef next summer!

Watch this video to learn more about the new animals that will be coming to Blacktip Reef!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

We Have ANOTHER Spiny-Tailed Monitor Baby!

On Monday, a spiny-tail monitor baby hatched in our Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit backup area! We are so excited to have another baby spiny-tailed monitor join the one that hatched on July 6!

These babies will stay in our backup area in the care of our staff. Although our guests won’t be able to see the young, you can see their parents in the front.

Behind the Scenes: Whip Ray Physicals

In keeping with our motto to provide professional and excellent care to our animal collection, the staff of the National Aquarium Biological Programs Department Animal Planet Australia and Animal Health jointly carried out annual physical exams on our pair of fresh water whip rays this morning!

The Whip rays (Himantura dalyensis) are 9 years old and measure about 1 meter across. These stingrays are from the Daly River in Northern Territory Australia from which they got  their species name.

You can check out the Whip Rays and other interesting species in our Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit in Baltimore!

The truth about bats

Bats are one of the most misunderstood of all creatures, having been long associated with tales of vampiresand other spooky Halloween stories. But did you know bats are actually very amazing and beneficial animals? We’d like you tell the true tale of these  creatures and dismiss any rumors of them being blood suckers, or creepy flying goblins of the night!

Bats are mammals and account for more than 25% of all mammalian species. They are the only mammals capable of true flight. But don’t worry; they aren’t flying around in search of human blood.  70% of all bat species eat insects and most of the remaining 30% eat fruit, pollen, and nectar.

So why are they important to us? Bats are very vital to the ecosystems in which they live. They are considered to be the forgotten pollinators.  The seed dispersal and pollination activities of fruit and nectar eating bats are vital to the survival of rain forests. And here in North America bats account for the removal of more than 5 tons of insects nightly.

Continue reading ‘The truth about bats’

From the Curator: National Aquarium wins best exhibit award!

From John Seyjagat, Curator of Australia Exhibits

The National Aquarium’s Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit was recently awarded best exhibit in the North America zoo and aquarium community. As the curator of this exhibit, I must say I am overwhelmingly proud to have received this coveted award given by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) each year– and the first to claim bragging rights, as this project was no easy feat for our exhibit team!

Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes is a lot more than a new exhibit. We have harnessed modern technologies, innovative designs, interactive learning, visitor friendly exhibitory and a unique Australian animal and plant collection, to create a one-of-a-kind visitor experience.

There are so many great features to this exhibit. Perhaps my favorite aspect is how the exhibit plays on the “wow” factor by incorporating prey and predators all sharing common spaces. The habitats are alive with color, movement, and noise the unique animals tell stories of their own.

Continue reading ‘From the Curator: National Aquarium wins best exhibit award!’


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