Shedd’s newest sea lion is now making appearances on exhibit in the Abbott Oceanarium.
Laguna, a rescued sea lion pup, has made great progress since his arrival at Shedd in late June, says marine mammals director Lisa Takaki. His debut last week in the Grainger Sea Lion Cove was one more step toward his total acclimation here. The 1½-year-old animal is already comfortable in all of the behind-the-scenes sea lion habitats, and he’s mastering what Lisa calls his “ABCs”—the training basics all the marine mammals learn. “He’s doing phenomenally,” she says.
Continue reading "From Rescued to Robust—Laguna’s Story " »
Hello, my name is Raccoon Butterflyfish.
There are a lot of weird names out there, especially for animal species. Since people name the animals they discover, it’s no wonder they get a little…interesting. Take for instance the Calponia harrisonfordi, a spider named in honor of Harrison Ford, or Irwin's turtle, discovered by crocodile hunter Steve Irwin. But species don’t have to be named after anybody. In fact, discoverers can get pretty creative when it comes to thinking up worthy names.
Continue reading "Uncommon Common Names" »
Experience Wild Reef in a deeper way: the new behind-the-scenes feeding tour. You’ll tread where few but the shark team go to witness mealtime for some of the most exciting—and misunderstood—species at Shedd: the sharks and rays.
You’ll even have a hand in feeding some of the fishes.
Continue reading "Get chummy with the sharks and rays on this tour" »
Imagine you’re a fifth-grader. You’re interested in friends, fun extracurricular activities, new movies and… how about sustainable seafood?
Continue reading "DuPage County Fifth-Graders Release Smallmouth Bass and Learn about Big Sustainable Seafood Issues" »
Notice anything different when you’re walking along the lakeshore? It’s cold! Along with cooler temperatures, shorter days and changing leaves, it’s also the end of our Great Lakes Action Days (GLAD) season.
Continue reading "GLAD Season Ends with Smiles, Results" »
As veterinary science advances at a clip that rivals human medicine, animals in aquariums and zoos are living not just healthier but also longer lives. Australian lungfish Granddad, shown above in 1933, celebrated his 80th anniversary at Shedd earlier this year. Along with being Shedd’s oldest animal, he’s also the oldest fish in any public zoological facility in the world. But is he a senior or is he just middle-aged? Like 60 is the new 40 for a lot of people, several of Shedd’s longevity-busters are in their prime, thanks to excellent care—and, of course, good genes.
Continue reading "Long-lived and going strong" »
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" »
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" »
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" »
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" »