We are excited to share that we’ve welcomed new baby animals which can be found on land, in the air or swimming in the sea! A baby African crested porcupine, baby laughing kookaburra and schools of miniature baby sea horses and moon jellies have all joined our family of nearly 15,000 animals.
Just four weeks ago, our team eagerly welcomed the arrival of a baby male African crested porcupine, also known as a porcupette, from the Cohanzick Zoo in Bridgeton, NJ. Born on September 11, 2018, the porcupette weighed just 420 grams, or about as heavy as a soccer ball.
Although the African crested porcupine has been part of the Adventure Aquarium collection since 2004, with an adult porcupine currently on exhibit in Hippo Haven, this is the first time the aquarium team has received a porcupette just days old and in need of 24-hour care.
Our biologists immediately took over hand-rearing this little guy, which will grow up to be over 40 pounds in a little over a year. He is bottle fed throughout the day, multiple times when he first arrived here, and will continue doing so in the coming weeks with his schedule adjusting as he grows.
Biologists provided the baby porcupine similar care to that of a human infant, taking him home at the end of each day to provide him with round-the-clock attention. This not only provided excellent care for the animal, but also gave the keepers time to bond with the tiny porcupine, which will help in future training.
Training began shortly after he began eating solid vegetables, just about a week after he arrived here. Porcupines grow quickly so it is important to start working with them while they are young. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with him closely as he grows in size but also grows in his adult quills and expresses more of his personality.
You, as our guests, are encouraged to help name the new porcupette through a voting contest to be held at the aquarium. Using spare change, you can choose your favorite name option, choosing from: Edgar, George and Theodore. African crested porcupines can be found in the same areas as Nile hippos in the wild, which led to the decision for all donations made in the voting contest to benefit hippo conservation in Africa.
In late July 2018, a male laughing kookaburra, named Brisbane by the Birds and Mammals team of biologists, arrived from the Santa Barbara Zoo in California. After he hatched on April 23, 2018, Santa Barbara Zoo officials waited for his feathers to grow in and made sure he was eating well before he made the cross country trip to Adventure Aquarium.
After a 30-day quarantine period here, Brisbane was moved to his new home, right next to our other laughing kookaburra, Sydney, in our behind-the-scenes Penthouse area. He will continue to become accustomed to his new surroundings and get used to living at Adventure Aquarium.
Inside his new behind-the-scenes home in the Penthouse, a bright and sunny area with a huge skylight overhead, is also the home of the aquarium’s other parrots and birds. The team is working closely with Brisbane on training, including hand-feeding, weighing on a scale and getting used to his new transport kennel for when he will move to and from his exhibit. Brisbane loves to eat mice, pinkies and small chunks of meat. He even loves to take his prey and smack it on his perching just to make sure it isn’t alive. He is also a big fan of enrichment, especially a stuffed animal.
Brisbane continues to do well as he acclimates to his new surroundings and exercises his, often loud, vocalizations. The team’s goal is to eventually have Brisbane take turns with Sydney going on exhibit daily in the Australian Aviary next to the Little Blue Penguin exhibit.
He is very vocal and kookaburras are known for their laughing, or what we sometimes refer to as kooking. So you might hear him before you actually see him out on exhibit in the near future! Once he is accustomed to being in the aviary, he will rotate days on exhibit with Sydney. He will not share the exhibit with Sydney, rather they will rotate so each has consistent and equal opportunities to see guests as well as relax behind-the-scenes.
Biologists on the aquarium’s Fish and Invertebrates team also welcomed some new underwater additions this fall through a process known as culturing.
The process of culturing, or controlled breeding, is performed in many aquariums to ensure we have a variety of species available for our exhibits.
Seahorses, with the males commonly recognized for carrying their offspring as eggs inside a pouch until they hatch, are a guest favorite. Behind-the-scenes, biologists work to breed these animals through a process called culturing. Last Friday, 20 reidi seahorses, also known as the longsnout seahorse, hatched along with five erectus fry seahorses on September 1 of this year. The plan for these tiny animals is to eventually inhabit the Horseplay exhibit located in Adventure Aquarium’s Caribbean Currents gallery.
As part of the ongoing culturing program, three species of jellies, including moon, Pacific sea nettles and spotted jellies, or mastigias, are constantly growing in a behind-the-scenes area. A variety of jellyfish species can be seen by guests daily in the Jules Verne gallery of Zone D.
In the case of the jellies, we also culture them as food for other animals, like sea turtles.
Stay tuned for updates on how these new baby animals are growing up at Adventure Aquarium and when you’ll have a chance to meet these new friends!
OK, time for a nap…see you next time!