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Aquatica at SeaWorld

March 12, 2008 7:54:40 AM PDT
The animal ambassadors to Aquatica, SeaWorld's new water park introduce us to some of their residents:

Roseate Spoonbill -- Papa

  • A large wading bird with pink plumage and a distinctive spatulate bill, is one of the most striking birds found in North America.
  • They stand 85 cm tall and have a 1.3 m wingspan.
  • The unique pale grey bill is long, flattened and spoon-like in appearance.
  • Breeding in the United States is restricted to coastal Texas, southwestern Louisiana, and southern Florida. Their breeding range extends south from Florida through the Greater Antilles to Argentina and Chile. They inhabit marshes, swamps, ponds, and rivers within their range, feeding in both fresh and saltwater wetlands. Highly gregarious, Roseate Spoonbills breed and travel in flocks.
  • Spoonbills consume a varied diet of small fish, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, and some plant material. They feed in the early morning and evening hours by wading through shallow water with their bills partially submerged. As a Roseate Spoonbill walks it swings its head back and forth in a sideways motion. When the bird feels a prey item it snaps its bill closed, pulls the prey out of the water, and swallows it.

    Conservation: The lovely pink primaries of the Roseate Spoonbill were highly prized for use in the construction of ladies' fans at the turn of the century. This made Spoonbills one of the favorite targets of the professional plume hunters that decimated so many species of wading birds. By the 1930's the once thriving Florida population had dropped to an historic low of 30 to 40 breeding pairs, nesting only in a few small colonies on the keys of Florida Bay. Once they gained full legal protection from hunting the species began to rebound. Now over a thousand pairs nest in Florida.

    (The Laughing) Kookaburra -- Kata

  • Kookaburras are native to Australia and are typically found in savannah areas near water. They are very territorial.
  • Some believe that the unusual sounds made help distinguish the hierarchy among a group of birds.
  • Their diet consists of bugs, small rodents such as mice, small lizards and small snakes and fish.
  • Kookaburras are the largest member of the kingfisher family.
  • These birds nest in the cavities of trees. Older chicks typically assist with the rearing of new ones.
  • Adult kookaburras measure about 6-7 inches in height and weigh just under one pound. Males typically have a blue tint on the rump.
  • Disgusting fact: Since the birds can't pass fur and bones, they regularly "cast pellets" -- or spit up chunks of indigestible stuff including fur and bones

    G. Sulcata tortoise -- Motu

  • Third largest tortoise species in the world and is the largest of continental land tortoise.
  • They may reach weights exceeding 200 pounds and can reach a shell length of over 2 1/2 feet
  • Native to the sub-Saharan regions of northern Africa and are well adapted to an arid environment -- from Senegal and Mauritania east through
  • Mali, Niger, Chad, the Sudan, Ethiopia, along the Red Sea in Eritrea.
  • Naturally they eat a lot of dry grasses since it is very hot and dry in their native Africa but at Aquatica they eat salad -- romaine, carrots, sweet potato, squash and a lot of spring mix
  • Their shell color is usually a brown to yellow color, while the skin is golden to yellow-brown and very thick.
  • Males may be a bit larger than the females, with the underside of the shell (plastron) often being concave in the males. Males may also have slightly larger and thicker tails.
  • These areas range from desert fringes to dry savannahs. Much of its range has been disturbed by urbanization, domestic animal grazing, and desertification.
  • Sulcatas are very aggressive towards each other and starts from the time they hatch.
  • Sulcatas like to burrow and are well adapted at doing it. They are very strong and active; when the weather gets too hot or cold they retreat to a burrow. This also helps them to avoid dehydration, since they depend mainly on metabolic water and the moisture in food for water.
  • Status: Many populations of G. Sulcata are rapidly disappearing, especially in Mali, Chad, Niger, and Ethiopia. In Senegal there are still limited populations in the north-east, but there is a lot of overgrazing and desertification here too that is wiping this tortoise out.

    Aquatica (PRESS RELEASE)

    Experience:

  • SeaWorld is known for providing guests with amazing, up-close animal encounters. Aquatica takes SeaWorld's expertise to a new level, offering a diversity of attractions including high-speed thrills you expect at a waterpark and blending them with up-close animal interactions and wide sandy beaches.
  • Aquatica opened March 1, bringing an unparalleled waterpark to Orlando - and the rest of the world.
  • True to the natural, rugged beauty of New Zealand, Australia and New Guinea, the landscape of Aquatica is striking and lush.
  • Crystal-blue rivers wind through hidden grottos and refreshing waterfalls, rich greenery and bright flowers surround rock formations, and stunning sand beaches line lagoons.

    Commerson's dolphins

  • Of course, Aquatica's main point of distinction is the playful, high-energy Commerson's dolphins, which swim off the coast of South America.
  • Because of their black and white coloration, Commerson's dolphins strike a recognizable similarity to our world-famous Shamu.
  • Commerson's dolphins are one of the smallest species of dolphin in the world, averaging 4 feet in length and weighing only 100 pounds.

    Description:

  • Aquatica has wide sand beaches, giant wave pools filled with waters from serene to extreme, and cool shade from towering oaks and exotic trees. Combination tickets
  • The best value for visitors is the multi-day/multi-park passes that SeaWorld and Aquatica offer. Online $79.95 (adults and kids); at front gate - $89.95 adults, $79.95 kids (3-9). Two and under are admitted free to both parks. For more information, please put up our Web site: aquaticabyseaworld.com


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