Welcome to our Nursery Exhibit, another one of our interactive exhibits. Just like Stingray Cove, we ask that you touch these animals on their backs or wings. We want to remind you that these are smaller animals and juveniles, so the best way is with an easy hand.
In here we have small species that are not large enough to put into our larger exhibits, like Stingray Cove.
The smallest and most abundant is the Spotted Yellow ray. This species has a round disc like shape and has speckles or freckles on their back. The females are larger than the males which is known as dimorphism. Females can be as big as a dinner plate when full grown with males being slightly smaller.
The Atlantic stingrays are similar to the Southern ray. Atlantic rays have a very pointed snout with a pink coloration to the overall body.
Another neat species found in this exhibit that is also full grown, is a Guitarfish.
Guitarfish are in the same family as rays and sharks. This makes them a cartilaginous species. Interestingly, they almost look like a mixture of a shark and a ray. Neat thing to look for on the Guitarfish is those clear patches that are located at the very front of the snout. This aids in helping them seek out prey.
Our Nursery is also home to juveniles or babies. This will fluctuate over the year by who pups here at our aquarium. There is no maternal connections between mothers and their young, like mammals do. So once they are born, they are on their own. We will keep our juveniles here in our Nursery tank for a few years, so that we can make sure that they are eating enough food without competition. Once they are strong enough, we can move them to a larger exhibit.
Our Nursery's Nursery is right up top next to the nursery itself, where we will keep our babies that are too small to be in the Nursery. You will see our baby spotted yellow stingrays and baby guitarfish in this exhibit here.
Guests can also feed these smaller and juvenille rays by participating in the Nursery Encounter. With this encounter you will get a one on one with one of our Marine biologists and be able to touch and feed these animals.
Now, let's continue over to Big Shark Bay.