Posts Tagged 'Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes'

Turtle Tuesday: Baby Northern Australian Snapping Turtle!

We’re excited to share some baby news out of our Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit! On the morning of February 14th, one of our herpetologists discovered a northern Australian snapping turtle hatchling!

national aquarium northern australia snapping turtle hatchling

The eggs, laid by our female Australian snapping turtle on September 4, 2013, were immediately placed in an incubator behind-the-scenes for close observation. This is the first hatchling to emerge from the group!

The National Aquarium is the only Aquarium in the United States to house this turtle species. Further more, this occasion marks the first time any facility has successfully bred northern Australian snapping turtles!

Our baby currently ways about 24 grams. Adults of this species can reach up to five kilograms in size!

national aquarium northern australia snapping turtle hatchling

Our new hatchling will remain behind-the-scenes until it is large enough to safely transition onto exhibit.

Stay tuned for more updates as our team continues to monitor the remainder of our eggs! 

Aussie Week: Make Your Own Didgeridoo!

national aquarium australia day

Every year on January 26, Aussies around the world celebrate Australia Day! This national holiday marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships to Sydney Cove. 

In addition to our annual event in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes this Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Australia Day with special posts on WATERblog all week long! 

Day Three: DIY Didgeridoo

The didgeridoo is a wind instrument first created by the aborigines of Northern Australia over 1,500 years ago.  Didgeridoos are still an important part of cultural celebrations in modern-day Australia and have gained popularity in many other parts of the world!

didgeridoo player

Didgeridoo player (Image via Wikipedia Commons).

This Sunday, a didgeridoo player will be on-site during our Australia Day celebration to delight guests with some authentic tunes. Folks will also be able to make their own didgeridoo out of recycled materials!

For those of you who won’t be able to join us on Sunday, here’s how YOU can make your own didgeridoo!

Materials:

  • Paper towel rolls
  • Pencils
  • Markers and/or crayons

Directions:

  1. Using a pencil, trace a design or pattern on your paper towel roll.
  2. Use your markers and/or crayons to fill in your design.
  3. Have fun practicing different sounds on your new didgeridoo!

DIY didgeridoo

Stay tuned for more Australia Week posts and join the conversation online using #AussieWeek!

Aussie Week: A National Symbol Is So Cute, It’s Laughable

national aquarium australia day

Every year on January 26, Aussies around the world celebrate Australia Day! This national holiday marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships to Sydney Cove. 

In addition to our annual event in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes this Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Australia Day with special posts on WATERblog all week long! 

Day Two: Meet the Laughing Kookaburra

The laughing kookaburra is Australia’s national symbol. One of four known species of kookaburra, it is the only species that is recognized for its laugh-like call. Laughing kookaburras make a variety of call sounds, which are used for everything from courtship to marking territory.

national aquarium laughing kookaburra

FUN FACT: The call of the kookaburra is commonly used in movies to imitate the sound of monkeys in a jungle!

The kookaburra is a brown-colored bird, about the size of a crow, easily recognized by its very large bill. Males can be distinguished from females by the blue hues on their wing feathers and the darker blue on their tail feathers. Females have a small bit of blue on their wing feathers, but no blue on their tail feathers.

national aquarium laughing kookaburra

Laughing kookaburras are found throughout the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia, the southwest corner of Western Australia, Tasmania, Flinders Island and Kangaroo Island.

These birds are the largest members of the kingfisher family. Contrary to what their family name suggests, laughing kookaburras rarely eat fish! Instead, they prefer to feed on insects, frogs, birds, rodents and reptiles.

The laughing kookaburra has been the subject of many Aboriginal legends over the years. Many tribes believed that the bird’s early morning call was a signal to the sky gods to once again illuminate and warm the Earth.

Stay tuned for more Australia Week posts and join the conversation online using #AussieWeek!

Take a (Virtual) Trip Down Under and Celebrate Australia Week With Us!

national aquarium australia day

Every year on January 26, Aussies around the world celebrate Australia Day! This national holiday marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships to Sydney Cove. 

In addition to our annual event in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes this Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Australia Day with special posts on WATERblog all week long.

Day One: Australia’s Majesty

Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, the continent of Australia is roughly 3 million square miles in size. Its six different climatic zones give Australia a wide variety of habitats.

From the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback, Australia is home to more than 5,700 different animal species…a staggering number when you consider how much of the island continent remains unexplored.

Here are just a few of the Aussie species you can see at the Aquarium: 

Did you know? Seventeen of the world’s 26 most venomous snake species live in Australia. Check out this list of the country’s 30 deadliest animals.

national aquarium death adder

Death adders inject, on average, 40–100 mg of highly toxic venom in each bite.

Australia is also home to the world’s largest living structure, the Great Barrier Reef, which is 1,500 miles in length. Comprised of over 3,000 individual reef systems, the Great Barrier Reef hosts thousands of species of fish, mollusks, sharks, marine mammals and sea turtles.

national aquarium clownfish

It is the world’s largest marine sanctuary and just one of the countless biodiverse natural wonders Australia has to offer.

Stay tuned for more Australia Week posts and join the conversation online using #AussieWeek!

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!

National Zookeeper Appreciation Week: Crista Melchiorre

In celebration of National Zookeeper Appreciation Week, meet Crista Melchiorre, an Aviculturist in our Australia exhibit!

crista melchiorre

How long have you been at the Aquarium?
2 years

What interested you to pursue your current career path?
I have always loved animals. Growing up we always had a variety of pets and I enjoyed finding animals in the woods and my yard. I was that kid who would be brought the sick or orphaned animals in the neighborhood, but usually would have to have my mom take me to a wildlife rehabber to save it.

Briefly describe for us your day-to-day
My day starts with a lot of cleaning and diets and ends with a lot of cleaning and diets. But there is a lot of animal interaction in between, whether its medicating one of the bats, training one of our parrots or getting a brief hello from a green winged dove.

Favorite Aquarium memory?
When we moved our two grey headed flying foxes, Darwin and Victor together. Darwin had very little social interaction with other bats due to a medical condition and he was moved with Victor to give him the opportunity to socialize. We were all nervous about what was going to happen but Darwin is happier than he ever has been!

Next big project you’re working on?
I’ll be focusing on getting our Crested Pigeons to breed.

Favorite animal?
That’s a hard question! I love all the animals I work with obviously but I think there is a tie between Darwin, one of our grey headed flying foxes, he just pulls at everyone’s heart strings. And Hobart, one of our Sulfur Crested Cockatoos, he has a very big personality and loves our attention.

Thanks for celebration Zookeeper Appreciation Week with us! Got a question for our staff? Ask them in the comments section!


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