Monday, November 12, 2007
One of my favorite things about being a mammalogy volunteer is that when you walk through the doors early in the morning, you never know exactly what kind of different, exciting activities the day will bring! Yes, my main duties revolve around our seals and sea lions, but it doesn’t stop there. We have a lot of animals here at the Aquarium, which means there’s always a lot of work to be done. Once in a while I’ll have some free time, so I take that as an opportunity to help out (or even just hang out) with some of the animals I don’t get to work with on a regular basis. I thought it might be fun to share some of those experiences.
One of my favorite places at the Aquarium is our Tropical Pacific Gallery which is the home of our 350,000 gallon Tropical Reef Habitat. This exhibit contains hundreds and hundreds of tropical fish, as well as sea turtles, black tip reef sharks, and zebra sharks. Being able to witness a close-up feeding of a sea turtle, as well as the target feeding of a couple of zebra sharks is something I normally don’t get to do, but I’m thrilled to have the opportunity once in a while.
Some of our most entertaining animals are our diving birds, which can be found in our Northern Pacific Gallery. The Diving Birds Exhibit shares a behind-the-scenes area with our Sea Otter Exhibit, so occasionally I’ll run into one of our aviculturists. Sometimes I’m allowed to give a fish or two to a puffin, or even gently touch a young puffin chick as it’s temporarily brought out of the exhibit to be weighed. Since the Sea Otter Exhibit is nearby, I also get to feed one of our sea otters once in a while in the area where we do our Sea Otter Animal Encounters. Now that’s a great day at work!
Terrestrial mammals at an aquarium? Yes, indeed! Hopefully you’ve had a chance to visit (or at least read about) our dusky pademelons, Foster and Paddington. Sometimes I’m asked to go into their exhibit to help out with cleaning or feeding, and I’m always happy to do so. I love their curious little eyes and calm demeanors! Sometimes the mammalogists pull one of them around the Aquarium in our “Paddy Wagon” so our guests can get a closer look, so keep an eye out!
Needless to say, there’s always something exciting going on here at the Aquarium. Not just for paid staff and volunteers, but for our guests, too. Not just pademelons in wagons, but all kinds of interesting critters! Mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and invertebrates. Keep an eye out for Lola the sulfur-crested cockatoo, Trevor the bearded dragon, Orion the American kestrel, or any other of our fabulous creatures you may unexpectedly encounter during your Aquarium adventure!
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