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Washing, Raking, and Cleaning

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Animal Updates | Sharks | Volunteering

Monday, August 27, 2007

Leah

The Glamour of Shark Lagoon

I am extremely fortunate to be able to work with the sharks in Shark Lagoon. My official title is Aquarist Volunteer. On a typical day, my duties include helping to open the exhibit by removing the covers, cleaning filters, raking sand, changing out or turning rocks in the exhibit, and watering the mangroves with fresh water. We remove anywhere from five to 25 eggs from the exhibit that were laid in the last 24 hours. The eggs are taken to a tank behind the scenes to hatch. After opening the exhibit, it is time to prepare food for both daily feedings. The food is thawed, depenned, peeled, scaled and filleted as needed, then weighed and placed into containers along with vitamins. Yes, you get your hands downright slimy! The food preparation area is cleaned, food is pulled from the freezer for the next day and placed in the refrigerator. It is now time for the 11:00 Shark Lagoon Touch Pool feed. Imagine individually feeding each of the mangrove rays or juvenile zebra sharks.

After feeding, the amount of food eaten is logged and the dishes are washed. If time permits, there are other maintenance jobs to be done. The 2:00 feed is for the big sharks, the ones that you can’t touch. I am one of the few people that can say they have fed a bull shark. Usually I feed the large rays or the zebra sharks.

In these blogs, I hope to share some of my experiences with the inhabitants of Shark Lagoon and other exhibits I will cover when someone is on vacation. I am a Charter Volunteer which means that I have been volunteering at the Aquarium of the Pacific since it opened in 1998.

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Boeluen

Monday, September 03, 2007 05:22 AM

Sounds like working with the sharks entails a lot of work. I can only imagine the thrill of feeding them!

You note that on a typical day you (and apparently the team you work with) “remove anywhere from five to 25 eggs from the exhibit that were laid in the last 24 hours. The eggs are taken to a tank behind the scenes to hatch.”

I had no idea that sharks lay eggs that frequently! Is there a reason behind their prolific reproduction? Is this normal behaviour or does it correspond only to sharks in captivity?

I look forward to reading your next update. We know and understand so little about sharks.

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Leah

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 12:32 PM

It is a thrill to feed the sharks. Not all sharks bite or grab their food. Our zebra sharks suck in their food making a loud slurping sound similar to when you slurp soup only much louder.

Our bamboo sharks are prolific egg layers. In the ocean a female bamboo shark lays an average of 60 eggs per year. Living in Shark Lagoon at the Aquarium of the Pacific hasn

All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.

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