Posts Tagged 'halloween'



Hallowings and things…

In honor of Halloween, the animal encounters at the National Aquarium have been a bit spooky this week!  We have been introducing some of our slithery, slimy, creepy, crawly animals from the rainforest, and teaching visitors that these animals aren’t as scary as we may think..

One of the encounters includes tarantulas. Scared yet? Don’t be. Though these venomous crawlers are generally thought of as a danger to humans, they do not pose the slightest threat. Tarantulas have venom with the potency comparable to a bee, so their venom is generally not toxic to humans. 

What’s the slimiest creature you can think of? A snake? This preconceived notion about snakes is false! These reptiles are not slimy at all; in fact, they are covered with scales. Snakes have small scales on the top of their body and large scales on the bottom. The large scales, called scutes, help them move their legless bodies. The coloration of their scales helps snakes camouflage themselves in various surroundings. They can blend in with leaves, shadows and even rocks! 

What has six legs and teeth in their stomachs? Give up? Cockroaches! These fascinating creatures have existed for about 300 million years and were found even before dinosaurs! Even though we see them as pests, cockroaches actually do a lot for the earth. In the rainforest at the Aquarium they help spread nutrients from trees to the soil.

cockroach for blog

snake for blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about these animals and others at the Hallowings and Things encounters everyday at 10:30 a.m. through November 6th! 

We are also running a special special halloween contest on facebook through Monday. Click here to enter the Hallo-Marine AquaFaces contest! Build your creepiest AquaFace for a chance to win tickets to the National Aquarium’s Baltimore venue.

Happy Halloween!

Ayers the bat recovers from surgery

Thanks to the help of the Aquarium’s veterinary staff and Dr. Anne Minihan, a surgical specialist from Chesapeake Veterinary Surgery Ayers the Bat - blogSpecialty, Ayers, a grey-headed flying fox, or fruit bat, is now recovering from a broken wing.

Ayers is a 7 year old flying fox that lives in the Aquarium’s Australia exhibit. In mid-August, he suffered a distal humerus fracture. Ayers’ skin was torn open allowing his humerus bone to protrude through. This type of injury is difficult to stabilize and put Ayers at risk for developing an infection. In bats, the humerus bone is surrounded by tissue that creates the flying surface of the wing, so a cast was not an option.

The best chance Ayers had to regain full function of his wing was to bring in Anne Minihan to complete a surgical fixation. Surgery was performed the day after the fracture occured, and it went very well but the recovery process is a slow one. There are several pins in place to stabilize the bone as it heals.  Ayers has been using his wing and thumb regularly now and is scheduled for another check by the orthopedic surgeon in the next few weeks. Even though Ayers is not fully recovered, the aviculturists in the Australia exhibits have said  he is acting like his batty self again!

Bats are commonly associated with Halloween and tend to frighten many people! Contrary to common believe, bats have no intention of bringing harm to humans. In fact, they do more for us than you may think. Insect-eating bats protect our crops, keeping costs down at the market. Fruit-eating bats help with pollination and seed dispersal, thus providing us with many commercial products and medicines.  Survival efforts are imperative worldwide because bats are such a vital part of our ecosystem. This halloween, celebrate bats!

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’


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