Monday, October 08, 2007
There is a lot of work to be done to get Shark Lagoon ready for our guests each day.
First the motion sensor activated water sprayer is turned off and removed. If you forget to do this first, when you get sprayed, you will remember! Next we remove plastic screens that cover the touch pools overnight. The water sprayer and screens are used to discourage birds such as Great Blue Herons from making dinner or a midnight snack out of the tropical fish in the exhibit.
Filters are cleaned by removing them from the exhibit and hosing them off.
The mangroves are hosed off. These plants live in salt water but need fresh water on their leaves.
The sand is raked moving it around to discourage algae growth. Algae grows quickly
Because the exhibit receives a great deal of sunlight. The rocks are either moved around or switched out for algae free rocks. The rocks removed from the exhibit are bleached to remove algae. To move the rocks, many times the sharks are laying on or near them so they need to be moved. How do you move a shark? You move sharks by gently placing your hand under them, not near their mouth, lifting them up so they will swim away. Of course, you move five sharks and six more move in to take their place. So patience is the name of the game. Finally all of the rocks get moved. While moving the rocks, we also remove any eggs laid in the last 24 hours. The fertilized eggs are taken to a tank in the back where they will hatch in approximately nine months. While working in the pools, we observe each of the sharks to make sure that they are in good health with no scratches or obvious injuries. We notify the Aquarist in charge if an animal’s behavior doesn’t seem normal.
We also do windows. Salt water leaves spots on the Plexiglas so we dampen a cotton diaper with fresh water to wipe off the salt spots. Diapers are used to keep from scratching the Plexiglas.
One more inspection is done to make sure that the exhibit “sparkles” for our guests.
Now it is off to prepare their food.
Oh yes, motherhood…. Last Sunday during the 11:00 feeding in the touch pools, I was feeding the mangrove rays when I observed one of the brown banded bamboo sharks frantically circling a rock in front of me. As I kept watching, it laid an egg!!!!! What a thrill to watch. The shark laid the egg then swam away to join the rest of the sharks. No mothering with these sharks.
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