Turtles big and small

I skived off from the perpetual squid-cutting duties to go and watch the turtles being fed.  Up on top of the Two Oceans aquarium, on the roof, is the quarantine area where sick animals and new arrivals are kept.  But these are by far the most charming.  A whole row of tanks, each one with a baby turtle flailing around inside it signalling “feed me!” with their flippers.

These little guys were rescued, found washed up on the beaches here in Cape Town. They are from the warmer east coast and got swept here into our cold waters where they usually die of hypothermia, or drown, unless they are rescued.  They are being kept here until they are big and strong and healthy enough to be released again.

turtle_baby

A little further on, in a big drum covered over with netting is this:

turtle

This is Otto, a rescued hawskbill turtle who was found washed up and dying at Yzerfontein.  The photo doesn’t really convey how impressive she is.  She’s a big girl, and she looks as though she’s doing really well now.

In case you are interested:

Ghost in the Aquarium

I arrived a little early for my aquarium volunteer shift at the Two Oceans this morning.  Lights were still off.  Quite amazingly spooky, walking around in a dark aquarium.

ray_dark

The baby ragged-tooth sharks were the best, but the tank was so dark the picture I took came out completely black 🙂  So all I’ve got to show is this hungry stingray.

Squirting Squid Eyes

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:

mantis_shrimp

 

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.

spidercrab_lunch

Just being in the aquarium is such a pleasure – for example, here’s a glimpse of the White Steenbras in the Kelp Tank:

steenbras

And that’s it until the week after next, when I’m on duty again 🙂