S.C. Aquarium, Part 2 | Project Discovery

Food preparation for the many animals at the aquarium takes time. The songbirds eat different foods than the predatory birds. Some of the foods eaten by the birds include apples, peas, meal, carrots, fish, eggs, bananas, oranges, seeds, grains, corn, blueberries, flamingo fare (crab and fish), mealworms, wax worms, vitamins, and grapes. Most of the small birds eat once a day, but the larger birds, such as the great blue heron, eat twice a day. The birds in the aquarium exhibits come from rehabilitation facilities or other zoos. They are not considered releasable because they have incurred injuries or they have been born in captivity.

Reptiles are another feature of the aquarium exhibits. Snakes, lizards, crocodilian, and some amphibians are taken care of by herpetologists. The sources of the reptiles and amphibians are zoos and breeding programs. The staff uses gloves, a snake hook, and snake tongs to handle snakes. The exhibits at the aquarium are community exhibits. All snakes are carnivores. They eat rats, snails, and fish. Turtles are omnivores, which means they eat plants and animals. Their diets consist mostly of shrimp, mollusks, and fish.

Feeding and training animals is a job done by an animal behaviorist. Two river otters, Ashley and Edisto, are residents of the aquarium and are not considered releasable. Although they are trained wild animals, they are not pets. They go to stations or shift on command. The river otters like to play and need an environment with lots of stimulation. Enrichment items are toys and things that smell and get the otters’ attention. The exhibit in which the otters are displayed is modeled after a mountain stream. They eat clams, fish, carrots, fruit, vegetables, and small mammals.