Posts Tagged 'upland tropical rain forest'



Welcome our new baby sloth!

We are so proud to welcome a new addition to the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit – a Linne’s two-toed sloth was born in late August! The baby is the first born to Ivy, one of the four sloths in the exhibit, and is the third sloth born at National Aquarium.

During a daily routine checkup, National Aquarium staff observed Ivy carrying a newborn. The baby was born fully haired and already had its trademark claws! Staff are keeping a close eye on the two and have spotted the baby actively nursing. Upon initial observations, the baby sloth seems strong and healthy, and is actively clinging and crawling about on its mom. Animal care staff suspects the baby will continue to cling to its mother for the first several weeks of life. Sloths can remain dependant on their mothers for up to a year. As time goes on, the young sloth will begin exploring its immediate surroundings and eating solid foods.

Linne’s two-toed sloths are commonly found in South America’s rain forests, where they spend their entire lives in the trees. They are nocturnal by nature, fairly active at night while spending most of the day sleeping. Adult sloths are typically the size of a small dog, approximately 24–30 inches in length and about 12–20 pounds in weight.

Sloths have been an ongoing part of the animal collection at National Aquarium. The two oldest sloths currently living in the rain forest, Syd and Ivy, were acquired in May 2007 from a private captive breeder in South Florida. The other two sloths, Howie and Xeno, were born at National Aquarium in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

“Despite the fact that the two-toed sloth is a fairly common animal, many of its most basic behaviors are still a mystery because they are rarely observed,” commented Ken Howell, curator of Rain Forest Exhibits at National Aquarium. “We’re thrilled to welcome the new baby to our family and we hope that it will increase awareness and interest in this group of most unusual mammals.”

Ivy and her new infant are free roaming in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit and will be particularly good at hiding in the trees for at least a few weeks.

Stay tuned for more updates about our newest addition! 

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!

Animal Update – August 17

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!

New baby screaming piha!

We have a new baby screaming piha in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit!

Screaming piha chick

Our screaming piha chick is the first to be born in captivity in North America. After a month of patient waiting by our rain forest aviculturists and exhibit curators, the baby chick hatched at the end of July. Our staff is very excited to be able to share the news of this successful birth!

Very little is known about the biology of the screaming piha when it comes to reproduction, and we hope to learn and share with others in the community as much as we can about these Amazonian birds.

Laying eggs can be difficult for pihas due to their poor nest-building skills. They create tiny nests. Ornithologist (the branch of zoology that studies birds) Alexander Skutch once described a piha nest as being “the most meager arboreal nest that I had seen.” Our female’s nest was about 2 inches by 2 inches and was constructed of curling vines from around our habitat. To help support the structure of the nest, our staff added two additional branches. Soon the female began to sit on her nest and after a couple of days we had our first spotting of a light brown, perfectly camouflaged egg!

In the wild, camouflage is an essential part of the piha’s survival. As a single parent, the female piha often has to leave to gather food while the chick relies completely on camouflage to stay safe in the nest. Through this hatching, we’ve learned that piha chicks lay motionless with their wings at their side while the mother is gone. The chick doesn’t peep or beg (behaviors we traditionally associate with baby birds), so as to not give away its location to any predators.

Screaming piha chick camouflaging itself

In the last month, our baby piha chick has grown tremendously. Thanks to a great mom, the chick has had plenty to eat and is completely feathered. Our new family is currently under the observation of our staff and is not on display yet in our Rain Forest exhibit, but we can’t wait for you to meet our new addition!

Animal Update – August 17

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!

Grosbeak back in the Rain Forest

We’ve reintroduced our male grosbeak to our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit this week. He has joined our female and guests can now see them flying throughout the forest!

Our grosbeaks are hard to miss with their beautiful yellow coloring.

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

Animal Update – August 3

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!

Bonnethead Sharks in New Home

Our two bonnethead sharks have moved from Wings in the Water to their new home in our Atlantic Coral Reef exhibit.

This move is due to preparations for our new exhibit, Blacktip Reef, opening in summer 2013. The new exhibit will be a vibrant new habitat replicating a salt-water Indo-Pacific ocean habitat featuring new animals including blacktip reef sharks, reticulated whiptail rays, and ornate wobbegong sharks! Click here to find out more about Blacktip Reef.

Golden Lion Tamarins

Our golden lion tamarin monkeys have been taken off exhibit for the time being as a precautionary measure due to nesting birds in the exhibit. Don’t worry, they’ll be back!

We have so many amazing animals in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit — it’s a great time to see some of them during your visit. Click here to learn more about some of the animals!

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


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