Today we began our adventures in the Mangrove Swamps, the magical underwater forests of the sea! We began by practicing our animal sign language and then we learnt about what makes mangroves special.
They are very important homes for loads of cool animals and so we coloured in some creatures and assembled our very own mangrove forests! We haven’t got any mangroves in the Aquarium so we went outside to find the next best thing – trees!
In the glorious sunshine we played lots of fun games, chased bubbles and enjoyed the lovely view of the sea before heading back to the café for a sing song!
What are they?
Mangroves are trees that you can find living in the sea! When lots grow together they form ‘mangrove swamps’ or ‘mangrove forests’. We can find mangrove swamps in tropical countries where it is nice and hot! They are found in Mexico, the top of South America, on the coast of Africa, around Indonesia and off the coast of Australia.
These trees have special adaptations to help them cope with all that salty water. They have special breathing tubes that stick up out of the water like snorkels and store all the salt in the old leaves which they can then get rid of! Very clever!
Why are they important?
Mangroves are very important places for animals to live, especially for baby ones! We call this a ‘nursery habitat’, the maze of roots gives them lots of places to hide away and stay safe.
When mangroves grow along the coast, they help to protect the houses of people living near them from any big waves! So, they don’t just keep the baby fish safe, they keep us safe too!
Who lives there?
Lots of animals can be found living in mangrove swamps including: sea anemones, brittle stars, sea urchins, fiddler crabs, dugongs, upside down jellies, mudskippers, barnacles, alligators and even tigers!
How can we explore them?
If you go on holiday to a place where mangroves grow you can explore them by boat, snorkelling or diving! There is so much to explore there!
How can we look after them?
Unfortunately, mangroves are in trouble! They are being cut down to make space for farms and houses. There are lots of people out there replanting mangrove forests just like they are with the rainforests. We can help mangroves by letting people know just how important they are!
Next Week: We are going to be learning all about the down right delightful dugongs and magical manatees! Toddler Tuesdays is limited to 15 spaces per session and tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis! Come along early to avoid disappointment.