Archive for the 'Animal Update' Category



Animal Update – December 20

national aquarium animal update
Strawberry Anemones in Surviving Through Adaptation

We have a whole colony of strawberry anemones now on exhibit in our Surviving Through Adaptation gallery!

national aquarium strawberry anemone

Did you know? These animals only grow to be about an inch wide! Like many other species of anemone, their tentacles are equipped with a potent poison which can stun prey/predators.

Strawberry anemones reproduce by splitting themselves into two identical copies, in a process known as fission. Along the ragged coast of the Pacific Ocean, you can see many rocks and ledges covered in these pink anemones!

Spotfin Butterflyfish in Lurking Gallery

A group of spotfin butterflyfish (originally from our DC location) has been added to our Lurking gallery.

national aquarium spotfin butterflyfish

Did you know? The black bar across this fish’s eye confuses predators.

This species is found in the Western Atlantic, from the east coast of the United States to Brazil.

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

It’s a … SLOTH! Meet the Rain Forest’s Newest Addition!

We’re are excited to announce the birth of Scout, our newest Linne’s two-toed sloth!

national aquarium baby sloth announcement

The newest arrival to our Upland Tropical Rain Forest is the second baby born to Ivy, one of the five sloths in the exhibit. Scout is the fourth sloth born at the National Aquarium!

To celebrate the birth of Scout, we have set up a baby registry at aqua.org/babysloth. Here, fans of Scout can make a donation to help purchase such items as vegetables and fruit, micro-chipping and the baby’s monthly checkup – items that are essential to the care and survival of Scout!

“Our team is thrilled to welcome another baby sloth to our Rain Forest habitat,” said Ken Howell, Curator of the Upland Tropical Rain Forest. “It is an honor to work with these incredible animals and inspire our guests to learn more about the ways they can protect them.”

Sloths have been an ongoing part of the animal collection here at the Aquarium. The two oldest sloths currently living in the rain forest, Syd and Ivy, were acquired in May 2007. Howie and Xeno were born at National Aquarium in 2008 and 2010, respectively. And most recently, Camden, was born at National Aquarium in 2012.

national aquarium baby sloth scout

Linne’s two-toed sloths are commonly found in South America’s rain forests, where they spend almost 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.

To give Ivy and her baby proper time to bond, our staff is closely observing mom and baby from a distance. This means we haven’t gathered the newborn’s weight and height measurements or been able to determine gender. Staff has estimated, based on records from other baby sloths its age, that Scout weighs approximately 450 grams and is approximately 30 cm long.

Stay tuned for more updates on baby Scout in the coming weeks! 

Animal Updates – December 13

national aquarium animal update

Bird Wrasse in Displaying Gallery!

A bird wrasse was just added to our Displaying gallery!

national aquarium bird wrasse

The bird wrasse (Gomphosus varius) is reef fish native to the Indo-Pacific. This species, also known as the birdfish or green birdmouth wrasse, is easily recognized by its elongated, snout-like mouth, which it only grows as it reaches adulthood.

Bird wrasse fish prefer to make their homes in the lagoon and/or seaward areas within coral reef habitats.

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

Animal Updates – December 6

national aquarium animal update

Banded Moray Eel in Surviving Through Adaptation

A banded moray eel can now be seen in our Surviving Through Adaptation gallery!

national aquarium moray eel

Did you know? There are over 200 species of moray eel! Known for their serpentine appearance, morays use their long, dorsal fin to navigate through water.

These eels are fairly secretive animals. They prefer to spend most of their day hidden in crevices within their coral reef homes.

Raccoon Butterflyfish in Pacific Coral Reef 

A raccoon butterflyfish has been added to our Pacific Coral Reef exhibit!

national aquarium raccoon butterflyfish

The raccoon butterflyfish gets its name from the black “raccoon-like” mask that covers its eyes!

This reef species can be found in both the Indo-Pacific and Southeast Atlantic. Their diet usually consists of a combination of benthic invertebrates (like tube worms) and algae

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

Animal Updates – November 8

national aquarium animal update

White-blotched river ray in Amazon River Forest

A white-blotched river ray has been introduced into our Amazon River Forest exhibit!

national aquarium white-blotched river ray

Did you know? On average, these rays are only about two feet in length! Their diet mostly consists of freshwater snails and crustaceans.

national aquarium white-blotched river ray

We love this close-up of our white-blotched ray from Flickr user adamcoop68.

This South American species makes its home in Brazil’s Xingu river basin.

Because of their limited natural range, these rays have been especially vulnerable to habitat degradation in recent years.

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

Animal Update – October 25

national aquarium animal update

Frilled Lizards in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes! 

Our herpetology staff is currently caring for four juvenile frilled lizards behind-the-scenes in our Australia exhibit! These juveniles will spend a few more weeks behind-the-scenes for observation and acclimation before going on exhibit.

Also known as “frillnecks,” this species is found in the humid woodlands of northern Australia and parts of southern New Guinea. They spend most of their time perched up in the trees, perfectly camouflaged, only venturing down to the floor in search of food.

Frilled lizards get their name from the large ruff of skin around their necks. When the animal is threatened, it gapes its mouth open to display its “frill” and, hopefully, discourage any predators from further pursuit.

national aquarium frilled lizard

This species is also known for their ability to run at high speeds on their hind legs – which allows them to reach the safety of a nearby tree quickly, if threatened. It’s quite the sight to see! Check out this awesome video of a frilled lizard in action: 

[youtube http://youtu.be/XAo09yYOpCU]

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

Animal Update – October 11

More than 17,000 animals representing 750 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!

Juvenile Australian Water Dragons! 

We have seven new water dragons in our Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit!

national aquarium water dragon

Australian water dragons are semi-aquatic animals. They possess long, powerful limbs and claws for climbing and a laterally compressed tail for swimming.

Water dragons are primarily found in eastern Australia (from Cooktown down to the coast of New South Wales). They spend a lot of their time in areas with flowing water, ample tree cover and basking sites.

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


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