Takeover Tuesday: A day in the life of a Newport Aquarium Herpetologist

Takeover Tuesday features a “day in the life” of biologists at Newport Aquarium. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

My name is Erin and I am one of the biologists at Newport Aquarium! I am a Herpetologist, which means that I work with the Reptiles and Amphibians. The place you are most likely to find me is in our Frog Bog where I care for most of our amphibian collection! Come with me on this #TakeoverTuesday as I show you a day in my life!

Erin Muldoon

Herpetologist, Erin, takes care of the animals in Frog Bog.

One of my jobs is to raise the next generation. These are Halmahera gecko eggs. We had Halmahera geckos running free in Canyon Falls and found these eggs when we were getting ready to start construction on the new Stingray Hideaway.

Gecko eggs

These Halmahera gecko eggs are from geckos that were running free in Canyon Falls. If these eggs hatch, the geckos will be released to run free in Stingray Hideaway.

If they hatch, we’ll release them and their parents back into Stingray Hideaway. So, keep your eyes out for geckos on the walls when we open our new exhibit this summer!

Sometimes, animals arrive too small to go into their future home. When that happens, I take care of them and help them grow up big and strong. Here is a baby Giant Musk Turtle who has a little more growing to do before he can hang out in our Shore Gallery.

musk turtle

Baby Giant Musk Turtle

Some of the smallest animals I care for live in the Frog Bog. These are Anthony’s Poison Arrow Frogs in multiple stages of their development, from tadpoles just getting their legs, to a brand new froglet, to two adults.

Anthony’s Poison Arrow Frogs are considered Near Threatened in the wild. Breeding efforts by Newport Aquarium and other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions will hopefully keep this frog and other amphibian species off the Endangered Species List.

You may ask yourself, what does a newly hatched dart frog eat? One food we offer is called a spring tail – it’s a tiny insect.

We also give them small fruit flies and newly hatched pinhead crickets. Here at Newport Aquarium, we breed our own fruit flies and crickets so that we always have a good supply of food ready for our smallest amphibians.

Not all of the animals I take care of are tiny. I also help take care of the biggest reptiles at the aquarium, Mighty Mike our American alligator, and the rare white American alligators, Snowball and Snowflake.

Mighty Mike (2)

Mighty Mike, the 14-foot long American alligator

 

They may look like statues, but believe me, they are alive. Part of taking care of them includes everyone’s favorite to watch: Feeding!

White gators (2)

Snowball and Snowflake, rare white American alligators

During the winter, they eat every three weeks. But in the summer, they eat every week. If you are lucky, you might catch us out on the beach feeding Mike some chickens, fish, or even a rabbit or two!

Mighty Mike

Herpetologists, Erin and Ryan feed Mighty Mike.

I hope you enjoyed #TakeoverTuesday with me. Now, like this Tiger Leg Monkey Frog, it is time to rest!

Tiger Leg Monkey Frog

Tiger Leg Monkey Frog

 

Check out our other #TakeoverTuesday posts

Rare White Alligators to Return to Newport Aquarium

Snowball and Snowflake set to become Mighty Mike’s new neighbors

WhiteGators_Bayou450

NEWPORT, Ky. – There will be guaranteed snow in Northern Kentucky this summer as albino American alligators Snowball and Snowflake are set to return to Newport Aquarium on Thursday, July 17.

The white alligators will make their new permanent home at the Gator Alley exhibit, which features one of the most distinct collections of alligators in the country.

Snowball (left) and Snowflake.

Snowball (left) and Snowflake.

Snowball and Snowflake are two of less than 100 known white alligators in the world. Due to a lack of camouflage and sensitivity to UV rays, white alligators have a low survival rate in the wild.

Their new neighbor, Mighty Mike, is the largest American alligator in the United States outside the state of Florida at 14 feet in length and 800 pounds.

Mighty Mike

Mighty Mike

“We are thrilled to provide our guests the opportunity to see a variety of truly unique crocodilians species all in one exhibit,” said Chris Pierson, husbandry operations director at Newport Aquarium. “Snowball and Snowflake are truly wondrous creatures. Pairing them side by side with Mighty Mike really makes for a special exhibit that you can’t find anywhere else but at Newport Aquarium.”

Each white gator measures roughly six feet in length, with the female Snowflake weighing approximately 65 pounds and the male Snowball approaching 85 pounds.

Snowball and Snowflake made their Newport Aquarium debut in November 2013 at what was then known as the Rainforest exhibit.

At the end of February, the two white alligators were moved off exhibit as Newport Aquarium prepped to convert the Rainforest into the new Turtle Canyon exhibit that opened in March.

For more information on Newport Aquarium, visit NewportAquarium.com or call toll free 800-406-FISH (3474).

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Newport Aquarium, the No. 1 aquarium in the country according to USA Today’s 10Best.com, has showcased thousands of animals from around the world in a million gallons of water since 1999. Named a top U.S. aquarium by US City Traveler in 2014 and by Travel Channel in 2013, Newport Aquarium is a Herschend Family Entertainment company and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Newport Aquarium is open to the public 365 days a year and is located across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati at Newport on the Levee.

Find us on: Facebook.com/NewportAquarium | Twitter: @NewportAquarium

One Aquarium Way | Newport, KY 41071 | 859-261-7444
www.newportaquarium.com