Animal Updates - June 21

Published June 21, 2013

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we're bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what's going on... here's what's new this week!

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Blind Salamanders on Exhibit! 

Our blind salamanders are adjusting well to their new exhibit space at our DC venue! Since first receiving the set of salamanders back in September, our herpetologist Calvin Weaver has been hard at work re-creating the cave habitat in San Marcos, Texas where this species can be found.

blind salamanders

Did you know? Since this species has evolved underwater in these cave habitats, they have no need for functional eyes or even skin pigments. They are also the only species of salamander to keep their gills (which allow them to breathe underwater) their entire lives. Other species of salamanders will lose them as adults, when they move onto land.

blind cave salamanders

Sadly, the only viable habitat for these salamanders is being seriously threatened by both water quality degradation and the increased draining of  San Marco's aquifer for city use. They are now considered critically endangered by the state of Texas.

Many conservation groups have made breeding these animals a priority. We're very excited to be one of the first organizations to receive some of these successfully-bred animals!

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

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Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

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Cold stunned turtle Cold Stunning: Where, How and Why?

Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

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