Caring for Our Resident Animals
ALTHOUGH WE REACHED OUR ORIGINAL GOAL, THAT WAS BASED ON THE MUSEUM BEING ALLOWED TO REOPEN ON JUNE 1ST, UNFORTUNATELY THE SHUTDOWN CONTINUES AND SO DOES OUR NEED FOR REVENUE TO CARE FOR THE ANIMALS.
What does it mean to take care of our animals?
We are grateful to our many supporters who have donated to our ongoing fundraiser "Giving Twenty in 2020" for the care of our animals. Many of you are probably wondering exactly what is entailed with "taking care of our animals". There is much more to do than simply feeding the animals.
Each day an Aquarist comes to the Museum to check on the health ofall our animals and to perform many tasks in conjunction with their care. Before feeding begins, the glass (both inside and out) on all tanks is cleaned. While doing this task, the Aquarist check the animals well-being, removes any uneaten food from the previous day including pieces of leftover shells. Generally there are only small bit of shells in the tanks as the Aquarist isvery careful not to overfeed the animals.
There are a number of other tasks performed in association with the tanks. These include checking that the:
Pumps for the tanks are running properly
Water temperatures in the tanks are correct
Water quality is up to standards
Tank filters are changed when needed
Light timers and heat lamps are on the tanks and working properly
While all the above tasks are necessary as part of our animal care, the water quality is equally as important as the animal health. They are directly related.
All of these "housekeeping" tasks are very important and take a great deal of time and care! We currently have 24 display tanks to clean. Depending on the size of the tank, it can take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes to clean each tank.
Finally, after the Aquarist is satisfied that all is well, it's time to begin feeding. Dehydrated and frozen shrimp are a major part of the diet of our aquarium animals. The animals currently consume roughly two pounds of fresh or frozen fish per week. This does not include the shellfish that is also purchased for the animals. The Aquarist prepares "dishes" of food for the animals adding vitamins and other supplements.
The snakes and bot-turtles eat hundreds of mice a year. Crickets, mealworms, fruit flies, and earthworms are purchased as well as being hand raised at the Museum. The frogs alone eat thousands of insects!
We have several turtles that consume over a hundred heads of lettuce per year. The turtles are also served other fresh vegetables and fruits. The turtles need exercise, so periodically they are removed from their tanks and taken outside (when possible) to walk around. Other times the turtles are exercised in the Museum.
All of our animals - from the biggest ocean pout to the tiniest mealworm - need fresh food and water! Your donations to "Giving Twenty in 2020" help provide not only necessary food - and all we all know how much food costs these days! - but the services (making salt water) and utilities (electricity to run pumps, chillers, heaters, and lights for our animal tanks) needed to keep our critters healthy and happy!