Monday, January 28, 2008
Shark Lagoon’s touch pools have been “no touch” pools for the last few weeks. There has been medication in the water. Occasionally parasites pass through our stringent quarantine procedures and need to be controlled. As this blog is published, the pools should be open to touching.
After feeding the bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma), I was scooping out an errant squid that was to go to one of the rays when the bowmouth clamped onto the pole with a surprisingly strong hold. It did let go of the pole after about a minute. Apparently it was still hungry.
Watching the aquarists remove the southern stingray stingers was interesting. It is a two person job. One takes hold of the ray by the pectoral fins (on the sides) while the other person takes hold of the tail, exposing the stinger and clipping it off using wire cutters. This does not hurt the ray. It is similar to us trimming our fingernails. We trim off the stingers so that our guests will not get stung accidentally while touching the rays. The stingers do grow back so they are regularly clipped. Could I clip the stinger? I don’t think so. I would rather be the one holding the ray.
It is whale watching season here in southern California. For whale watching tips, please see Hugh’s 1-3-08 blog. I went out of Newport Harbor looking for whales. We didn’t see any that day but we did see a pod of Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus) swimming just outside of the harbor.
Now is a great time to go bird watching with many birds wintering in our area. Dress warm, wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen and a hat, and bring binoculars and a bird identification book if you have them.
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