Posts Tagged 'national aquarium washington dc'



Animal Update – February 8

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!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Baby Giant Pacific Octopus!

We have a new giant Pacific octopus on exhibit! Currently the size of a softball, this species can grow to weigh up to 90 lbs! In fact, they are the largest species of octopus in the world.

baby octopus

Found in the coastal regions of the North Pacific, the giant Pacific octopus is highly intelligent and adaptable, making them a hard catch for predators.

These masters of camouflage can quickly change the color and texture of their skin to match the background. By rapidly drawing water into the mantle and expelling it through the tube-like siphon, they can jet themselves backward, away from danger.

Once this juvenile matures a bit, our staff will begin regular enrichment exercises to encourage cognitive thinking.

octopus enrichment

Aquarist Morgan Denney facilitating an enrichment with our giant Pacific octopus in Baltimore!

One exercise involves giving the octopus a container with food inside. The octopus opens the container quickly, using more than 1,800 suction cups that help it locate and taste the item inside.

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

Animal Update – January 25

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!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Habitat Adjustment for Lobsters, Toby and Larry!

Last year, our Washington, DC venue welcomed two rare, brightly-colored lobsters into their collection. Toby, a blue lobster found off the Maryland coast, resides in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuaries exhibit.

Like most of his species, Toby likes to spend his time nestled under rock formations. In the wild, this behavior helps protect the lobster from possible predators.

Toby

This week, staff dove in this exhibit to create similar “habitat spots” for our second lobster, Larry, a bright orange lobster donated to the Aquarium by a local market. Lobsters can be quite territorial, so to prevent any aggression between our two, we’ve provided them each their own space within the habitat! Visitors will be able to see Larry on exhibit in the next few weeks!

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

Animal Update – January 11

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 visits. 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!

AnimalUpdated_DC


Our freshwater exhibit welcomed some new additions this week!

Brown bullhead catfish

Also referred to as a “mud cat,” this species thrives in lakes and ponds with muddy conditions.

bullhead catfish

The bullhead catfish is an opportunistic bottom feeder. Their diet consists mostly of insects, leeches, snails, fish, and clams.

Previously only found in the United States, the bullhead catfish has become a global invasive species (they are especially harmful to freshwater ecosystems in Europe, Chile and parts of New Zealand).

Greenside darter

A greenside darter was added to our Northern Streams gallery. The greenside is the largest of the darter genus, reaching a standard length of approximately five inches.

greenside darter

 This species is commonly found in large creeks and medium-sized rivers across North America. They can even be spotted swimming along the Potomac River!

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

Animal Update – January 4

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!

AnimalUpdated_DC

Longsnout seahorses

We have added two new Caribbean longsnout seahorses to our National Marine Sanctuaries and National Parks gallery!

longsnout seahorse

Did you know this species of seahorse only reach a maximum size of six inches?  Their small size allows them to explore even the slimmest crevices of reefs! This is where they search of food and find coral pieces to anchor on for rest and protection.

longsnout seahorses

As with other seahorse species, when longsnout seahorses mate the female deposits her eggs into a pouch in the male’s belly. The male is then responsible for carrying the eggs until they hatch and the male is ready to give birth to the live young!

longsnout seahorse

Both males and females are typically a yellow color, with flecks of brown and black (allowing them to blend into their reef habitats). This camouflage coloration along with their bony body allows the longsnout seahorse to have very few predators.

Unfortunately, these beautiful creatures are still seriously threatened by habitat loss!

Can’t get enough of these beautiful creatures? Download this month’s customized, free wallpapers of the lined seahorse to your computer, mobile device and/or social platform! 

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

Thoughtful Thursdays: DIY Green Holiday Decorations

From the mesmerizing experience of watching “Polar Express” in 4D to staff celebrations and special holiday enrichment activities for the animals, the holiday season is always an exciting time for us at National Aquarium.

Part of that excitement includes decorating! As part of our conservation mission, we are always on the look out for ways to use recycled and eco-friendly materials to create one-of-a-kind holiday decorations!

We’ve included the steps for some of our DIY favorites below:

Recycled Magazine Holiday Tree 

Materials: 

Old magazines
Glue (optional)
Glitter (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Fold the page of the magazine down to create a triangular crease

  2. Fold the triangle down again and then fold the tip of that page up so that it’s even with the bottom of the magazine
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until every page of the magazine is folded in
  4. If desired, use glue and glitter to decorate your magazine trees!

Paper Bows

Materials: 

Recycled paper (printer paper and old magazine/newspaper works best)
Double-sided tape
Stapler

Directions: 

  1. Cut your paper into eight approximately one-inch wide strips (leaving one to the side)
  2. Loop the top half of the strip and secure to the middle of the strip with tape, loop the bottom half of the strip so to complete the “figure eight” shape
  3. Repeat step two for the remainder your strips
  4. Arrange the “figure eights” into a bow shape and secure together with a stapler.
  5. Loop the final strip (set aside earlier) and tape it in the center of the bow to cover the staple

3D Paper Snowflake 

Materials: 

Recycled paper cut into six squares (again printer paper and old magazine/newspaper work best)
Scissors
Tape
Stapler
Old ribbon or string (optional, for hanging)

Directions: 

  1. Gather your six square sheets of paper and fold each diagonally into a triangle
  2. Cut three lines in the triangle by positioning the scissors along the bottom fold, these cuts should be parallel to the top edges of the triangle and should leave some distance in the middle of the triangle (do not cut the paper all the way through)
  3. Once you’ve cut lines into each piece of paper, unfold them so that one of the points of the square faces you
  4. Roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube. Place these two pieces together. You should see triangle shapes on either side of the role
  5. Turn the diamond over, take the next two paper lines and pull them together on the opposite side of the tube and tape together as before. This will be a more rounded shape than the first tube.
  6. Completing that pattern, join all the paper lines together on alternating sides until every “arm” of the snowflake has been completed
  7. Staple together the tops of three of the completed snowflake “arms”
  8. Staple the other three tops together
  9. Join the two halves of the snowflake by stapling together the tops of the snowflake
  10. Staple together where the “arms” of the snowflake meet each other, ensuring that the snowflake shape will stay in place
  11. If desired, loop a piece of ribbon or string through one of the snowflake “arms” and hang your snowflakes on doors, banners or windows!

Want to learn some other exciting eco-friendly holiday crafts? Join us for our holiday events, including our World Holiday Traditions celebration next Friday, December 7. We’ll be using recycled holiday cards to make notes to send to service members! 

Do you have a favorite eco-friendly holiday craft or decoration? Share them with us in the comments! 


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