Blog by Aquarium Host Callum
With tentacle week just around the corner here at the aquarium, it got us thinking about some of the creatures inhabiting the building that match the theme of this half term. We have many different tentacled creatures waiting to meet you; from our small, but very cute, cuttlefish to the humongous Giant Pacific Octopus! All hosting a unique set of skills and talents for you to see. One tentacled animal we will be talking about this week is Squid. Squid is a major part of the food chain for many different animals. It not only provides us with a tasty meal but also makes a great source of food for seabirds, sharks and a variety of other fish. Not only that but they are also consumed by some of the mammals living in and out of our waters. Tasty, Tender, Tentacles are how our aquarium friends would describe them! Come on down every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:00am when our Sand Tiger Sharks are fed, normally this consists of two pieces of fish and their favourite – Squid!
But it’s not just the big guys that chow down on this tasty dish! Come and meet our smaller Jawsome residents, the Epaulette Shark, the Wobbegong and the Bamboo catshark. All three of these eat squid and each of them catch it in different ways.
The Epaulette shark waits for night to descend over the reef before going on a squid hunt. When the oxygen level in the water is low and the fish, crustaceans and molluscs begin to get very sleepy the Epaulette shark has saved all his energy throughout the day and now it’s time to put it to good use! Squid and crabs are an Epaulette’s first choice but they are pleased with whatever they can get. As squid settle down for the night they keep an eye out for any predators lurking in the darkness but the Epaulette is a stealthy hunter. They crawl throughout the coral reef searching for the hiding spots that contain the molluscs they seek.
The Wobbegong has a different method… lie and wait. They hide in the shadows and prey on any unsuspecting Squid that pass by. If an unlucky squid were to come to close the mouth of a Wobbegong then he will be gone before you can say tentacles! The Wobbegong is so quick that most of the time they swallow their prey whole.
Our Bamboo Catshark is still a tiny little baby shark. That means the squid prepared for it need to be smaller than the average portion. Bite size pieces are best for the shark to reduce the risk of them throwing it all back up again.
Squid is just one of the many Cephalopods that we will be celebrating this Tentacles Week… why not come and join us and see what else we have in the Aquarium?