My favourite animal tags : photos that make me say "Wow!", reptiles & birds
Quotes, interesting things, conservation related and endangered animals
I have too many tumblrs:
#~ My reptile facts tumblr
# My pets and related ramblings
# My taxidermy tumblr and my dead things diary
# Everything else & Flight Rising
# And some of my own photos
A Better Bubbler
How do you incubate cuttlefish eggs behind the scenes in preparation for our forthcoming “Tentacles” special exhibition? You could, at a cost of hundreds of dollars, buy commercial incubators. But that would be too easy. Plus, Aquarist Bret Grasse figured he could create something just as good as the store-bought jobs.
For $2.50 and “a day in the life of one volunteer,” he makes a better bubbler out of soda bottles, plastic tubing and silicone glue. It looks like mad science, but it works. To date, he’s produced hundreds of baby cuttlefish for exhibit using the system.
The First Step: Drink the Soda
Bret and his husbandry colleagues have been working on this fabulous fizzer for about four years. The challenge is to “get the greatest number of healthy hatchlings” from a given clutch. He could let nature do its job, by having the cuttlefish mom rear the little ones. But ironically, this doesn’t always achieve the best outcome, says Bret. The mom sometimes forgets where she left the clutches, or neglects them. Plus, removing the eggs and raising them separately allows mom to focus on what she does best: laying more eggs.
The first step in making the world’s best egg bubbler is the easiest: drink the soda. That done, Bret cuts the bottle in half, and affixes a small screen between the two pieces. The bottom end, where the cap used to be, also has a screen. Then the whole thing is submerged. Next, a tube injects air into the top half of the bubbler, drawing water oh-so-gently up through the whole device, and aerating the eggs with the perfect fizziness—not too much, not too little.
A Cuttlefish the Size of a Pea
While the cuttlefish eggs do their dance in the bubbler, Bret watches and waits. Eventually, the faintest trace of a baby cuttlefish appears in the egg, and an eyespot. When they finally hatch, they’re the size of a pea. The whole thing takes only a few weeks. The baby cuttlefish can then go on exhibit, where they reach their three-inch full grown size in about three months.
So far, the bubblers have been used for pharaoh, flamboyant and dwarf cuttlefish, but more species are being considered as we get closer to the launch of the new exhibit April 12.
“We’re so fortunate to have the opportunity to experiment with these techniques,” says Bret. “It not only helps us produce animals for exhibit, but it plays into our conservation mission, by reducing pressure on wild stocks.
“It’s a dream come true for me, Chris Payne and Alicia Bitando,” says Bret. “We couldn’t be happier to work with these animals and do this kind of troubleshooting.”
Plus, the soda is free.
The bush dog (Speothos venaticus) is a South American canid.
Just to be clear, here, we’re talking about a dog that’s a yard long, a foot tall at the shoulder, weighs under twenty pounds, and looks vaguely as if piglets had taken to running in packs. They have stubby little tails and webbed hind feet. Seriously. Webbed hind feet.
When they go to take down a paca, half the pack chases them on land, and half the pack waits in the water for when they inevitably take a dive and try to swim for it. They’re even capable of taking down peccaries if they get lucky, and they’re ballsy enough to have been seen trying for a tapir. Which, seriously? I know tapirs are cute, guys, but just in case you’ve never seen one in person, they’re upwards of like 700 fucking pounds.
A bush dog is roughly the size of one of their forelegs. That’s definitely one of those “let that baby dream” kind of hunts.
Packs are composed of one breeding couple and closely-related non-breeding dogs—usually grown pups from previous litters. Everyone pitches in to care for and protect the current year’s pups, and once the pack takes something big down, the adults will take the head and the rump to let the babies have the entrails.
This is slightly less horrific if you remember that these guys are small enough to use fucking armadillo burrows as their summer home. Their puppies are literally adorable little murder machines.
The Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) isn’t actually a wolf, (or a fox, wolf, coyote, dog or jackal) but rather a distant canid, close to foxes. Its believed that its the only survivor of the late Pleistocene extinction. It is found in the grass lands of South America.