I did my first stint of “Behind the Scenes” work at the Two Oceans aquarium today. It was great! I’ll probably get all jaded and bored with this stuff soon enough, but right now everything is new and interesting.
First thing in the morning – went to the office to sign in, and found a penguin standing there, eyeing every body up and down :) Very cute.
Cleaned the tank of a mantis shrimp (the creature of Oatmeal fame) which is apparently the most intelligent of the crustaceans. Had to work with long-stemmed implements, as putting my hand in the water would be a bit dangerous. To quote from that Oatmeal link, mantis shrimp can accelerate to the velocity of a bullet shot from a 22 calibre rifle, and strike with a force of 1500 Newtons. Ouch!
Here he is:
I also had to keep track of a single fish ( a spotted grunter) in a shoal of many, many others, to help a diver catch it so it could go into quarantine.
And for most of the time, I cut piles and piles of shrimp, squid, and redbait into tiny pieces. This platter was lunch for the giant spider crabs. The big lesson here was that squid eyes squirt fluid all over the place if you don’t watch it. Also, they have little tiny beaks like parrots, I’d never seen those before.
Just being in the aquarium is such a pleasure – for example, here’s a glimpse of the White Steenbras in the Kelp Tank:
And that’s it until the week after next, when I’m on duty again :)