« September 2013 | Main | November 2013 »

11 posts from October 2013

October 31, 2013

Shedd's Masters of Disguise


Weedy Scorpionfish

Every Halloween, we don costumes and become someone (or something) else. But when the night is over, we hang our costumes in the closet and wipe off the last stubborn streak of face paint, once again ourselves. For some animals at Shedd, disguises are not a once-a-year event: They are a lifestyle.

Continue reading "Shedd's Masters of Disguise" »

October 29, 2013

A Rio Remembrance

Shedd Aquarium River Otter

Shedd Aquarium lost one of its most enchanting family members today when the animal care and animal health teams made the difficult but humane decision to euthanize 21½-year-old North American river otter Rio. Her health and quality of life had deteriorated recently due to her advanced age. Rio exceeded by nearly a decade the known median life expectancy for river otters—12 years according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums—thanks to excellent care, including advances in geriatric veterinary medicine, and her own zest for everything.

Continue reading "A Rio Remembrance" »

October 27, 2013

Sustainable Seafood and You

Shedd Aquarium Sustainable Seafood

Your seafood choices can have a big impact on the health of our waters worldwide. October is National Seafood Month, and Shedd’s Right Bite team encourages you to be sure your impact is positive by deepening your understanding of issues surrounding seafood consumption and becoming an advocate for sustainable seafood. Seafood is our last major source of wild-caught food, and while farm-raised fish are increasingly common in the marketplace, the majority of seafood worldwide continues to come from wild populations.

Continue reading "Sustainable Seafood and You" »

October 22, 2013

Wispy Jellies Comb the Water for Prey

Shedd Aquarium Comb Jellies

The comb jellies are among the few species you’ll see in the Jellies special exhibit that weren’t raised at Shedd.

Continue reading "Wispy Jellies Comb the Water for Prey" »

October 21, 2013

A note from Ken Ramirez

Recently, an independent documentary-style film debuted in select theaters across the country focused on the unfortunate 2010 death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau. Through creative editing, Blackfish attempts to “expose” SeaWorld’s supposed negligence in areas from employee safety to animal welfare through allegations made by a handful of former trainers depicted in the film. Some of the emotional-evoking claims about animal care and training practices conveyed in the movie no doubt leave the audience feeling conflicted and confused about the moral and ethical validity of orcas in aquariums and marine parks.

Continue reading "A note from Ken Ramirez" »

October 19, 2013

Coral Reefs: Underwater Cities Worth Saving

Shedd Aquarium_reef

We all know the Earth’s surface is two-thirds water, most of which constitutes the world’s oceans. But did you know that 25 percent of marine life depends directly on coral reefs? Like cities, coral reefs cover a disproportionately small area—only 1 percent of total marine habitat—but these bustling underwater metropolises are home to a richness of life that rivals tropical rainforests.

Continue reading "Coral Reefs: Underwater Cities Worth Saving" »

October 11, 2013

Meet Octopus Opal

Shedd Aquarium Opal and Eve

“She’s spunky and curious and quick and energetic.”

That’s senior aquarist Eve Barrs’ condensed profile of Opal, the giant Pacific octopus in the Oceans gallery. Eve is a member of the octopus training team, and she’s invited me behind the scenes to observe Opal’s daily session.

Continue reading "Meet Octopus Opal" »

October 10, 2013

Dinner Dance with a Nautilus

Shedd Aquarium nautilus

Cephalopod Awareness Days (Oct. 8 through 12) give us an opportunity to learn more about this class of invertebrates that ruled the seas millions of years before the first primitive fish shook a tailfin.

I had the privilege of learning about chambered nautiluses firsthand when senior aquarist Laura Hilstrom invited me behind the scenes to help feed her charges in Wild Reef. Nautiluses trace their ancestry back 500 million years to the Cambrian period. They are the last of the externally shelled cephalopods and the most primitive members of their class, which also includes octopuses, squids and cuttlefishes.

Continue reading "Dinner Dance with a Nautilus" »

October 04, 2013

October Fish of the Month: Wild Alaskan MSC-Certified Salmon



Sustainably caught or raised seafood not only tastes better (just ask the Right Bite team), but it’s also an easy and important way to protect our oceans and lakes. The Fish of the Month for October is wild Alaskan MSC-certified salmon, which is on Shedd’s “best choice list” for sustainability. This refreshing and healthy recipe for grilled Alaskan salmon with grapefruit and avocado salsa is a delicious and sustainable dish that we know you’ll enjoy!

Continue reading "October Fish of the Month: Wild Alaskan MSC-Certified Salmon" »

“Super Powers” Alone Can’t Save Octopus

Shedd Aquarium Giant Pacific Octopus_blog

What has nine brains and three hearts? The giant Pacific octopus, the largest species of octopus in the world! That’s right, these eight-legged hermitlike creatures may prefer creepy crevices and shadowy shoals along the Pacific coast from Southern California to Alaska, but they’re highly evolved and intelligent cephalopods. Cephalopod literally means “head-foot,” an appropriate name for a creature whose body consists of a soft, billowy head surrounded by eight curling arms.

Continue reading "“Super Powers” Alone Can’t Save Octopus" »