North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

Tiny Baby Horseshoe Crabs at Pine Knoll Shores

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North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores husbandry staff recently collected a total of six Horseshoe Crab hatchlings of varying sizes from nearby tidal areas. 
 
Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs lay eggs 2,000 to 30,000 eggs, which hatch approximately 2 weeks later.  Hatchlings stay in tidal areas for about a year before traveling into deeper areas of the ocean.
 
Despite their name, horseshoe crabs are actually more closely related to spiders than crabs.
 
These hatchlings will undergo a month-long quarantine before being included in the aquarium's invertebrate touch tanks. 

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Ahoy, Shark Pups!

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Seven Bonnethead Shark pups are cruising the waters at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.  Born in mid-November, the pups are thriving in a behind-the scenes tank at the aquarium.

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Photo Credt:  North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

Bonnethead Sharks are the smallest of the Hammerhead Sharks.  The purpose of their wide, shovel-like heads, known as cephalofoils, has been debated for decades. It is now believed that their flat heads, with eyes located on the outer edges, give them a very wide field of vision.  Sharks in the Hammerhead family can see 360 degrees, meaning they can see to the front, to the sides, and behind themselves.  The placement of the eyes also allows the Sharks to see above and below themselves as well.

Such a visual field is an advantage for any animal, allowing it to more easily spot predators and prey. 

Bonnethead Sharks are found along the east and west coasts of North and South America.  Adults are shy and harmless, growing three to five feet long.   They are often seen swimming together in small groups.

See more photos of the pups below the fold.

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Eno the Orphan Otter

Little Eno got off to a rough start when his mother was accidentally killed by a car in the spring of this year. Luckily, staff at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores found him early enough to save him. Unlucky for the aquarists, raising a baby otter is a lot of work, requiring around the clock bottle-feeding until he was old enough for fish. Additionally, they had to teach him to swim and hunt. Now six months old, he loves to romp (but apparently still enjoys eating and sleeping).

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