As part of our celebration of National Zookeeper Week, we're handing over our Facebook page to our animal care staff. First up, our herpetologists (a big word for people to study and care for amphibians and reptiles) shared a look into daily life at the Aquarium.
On two days of the week, our Flooded Amazon turtles are fed a vegetarian pelleted food by hand. This allows for our staff to get a much closer look at each individual in this exhibit and to make sure that every turtle receives a fair share of the food. They are also fed a sinking pelleted food on at least 2-3 other days of the week that is high in protein.
- MacKenzie Mathis, Herpetologist #KeeperWeek
This is a young Black-breasted Leaf turtle that hatched out here at the aquarium in 2014. This individual is eating a superworm today. I usually like to stay close by when I feed this turtle as she gets very excited at feeding time and sometimes drops her food before she has had the chance to eat it. She likes to run around with the food first, and then I place her on the rock in her exhibit and try to get her to focus on eating.
As you can see, turtles don’t have teeth but instead have a beak. Therefore, they cannot chew their food. They sometimes use their front 2 feet to either help rip pieces of food apart or to help hold their food while they are attempting to swallow parts of it. This individual is doing just that by holding her food with her front 2 feet and using those feet to help push the food further back into her mouth.
-MacKenzie Mathis, Herpetologist #KeeperWeek
Meet Grumpy, a critically endangered Radiated Tortoise! He lives in the Lemur Forest exhibit with his furry lemur companions but he really loves his animal caretakers! When we come into the exhibit, he runs over to greet us and tends to follow us around. He even comes to us when we call his name! He has a great personality and loves attention, which is something most people wouldn't expect from a reptile!
-Chelsea Feast, Animal Care Specialist #KeeperWeek