Invasion of the Land Animals at Aquarium of the Bay

February 17, 2009

California King Snake and Banana Slug Slither to the Aquarium for New Exhibit

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ — Two Golden State natives, the California King Snake and Banana Slug, are creeping into Aquarium of the Bay and will receive their first public introduction at “Slither: Invasion of the Land Animals” on Saturday, February 21 from 1-3pm. Led by the Aquarium’s Husbandry and Conservation departments, “Slither” is the first of five public events aimed at providing sneak peeks into the Aquarium’s much-anticipated new exhibits.

“Our new animals are taking Aquarium of the Bay to the next level — the above the ground level — as they are the first land-dwelling animals to make their homes here,” said CEO John Frawley. “We want to give our visitors a greater understanding of these animals’ habits and habitats, as well as how they are affected by environmental changes.”

The Banana Slug, Ariolimax columbianus, is in the Mollusca phylum, making them distant relatives to aquatic animals including octopuses and mussels. Banana slugs’ slime is essential in many ways: it helps them move; it serves as a protector against sharp rocks or other jagged surfaces and it plays a role in their respiration, as they breathe partially through the surface of their skin. They are most commonly found in redwood forests, where they eat savory foods such as wild mushrooms and less savory delicacies including fungi, and dead plant materials. Their hankering for such items makes Banana Slugs play an important role in maintaining a healthy forest food web, through their spreading of seeds and spores. Climate change could push the banana slug into excessive hibernation, making it unable to perform its essential job duties.

Another animal that moves via slithering, the California King Snake, Lampropeltis getula californiae, is found throughout the state in areas ranging from forests to fields, coastal scrub land to deserts. King Snakes are non venomous and kill prey including rodents, lizards and small mammals by squeezing them, similar to boa constrictors. The species can grow up to six-feet long and live more than 30 years. California King Snakes prefer to be active during cooler times of the day or warmer parts of the night, and are stressed by extreme temperatures. Drastic changes to California’s climate could cause the animal to go into extensive hibernation periods, preventing it from foraging for food.

The Invasion of the Land Animals events will include live animal showing and interaction, hands-on activities and more. The events are free with admission to Aquarium of the Bay. Upcoming dates include:

  • February 21: “Slither” featuring the California King Snake and Banana Slug
  • February 28: “Wild Colors” featuring the Blue Tongued Skink and Pink Toed Tarantula
  • March 8: “Spring Forward” featuring the Pacific Tree Frog and Western Toad
  • March 14: “Shells” featuring the Western Pond Turtle and Cherry Headed Red Legged Tortoise
  • March 21: “Soft and Prickly” featuring the Chinchilla and African Pygmy Hedgehog

PG&E Bay Lab is a unique interactive climate change exhibit sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The exhibit features land-dwelling animals as nature’s ambassadors, promoting energy conservation to protect their habitats from the potential impact of climate change.

About Aquarium of the Bay

Aquarium of the Bay is a unique nature center dedicated to creating experiences that inspire conservation of the San Francisco Bay and all marine environments. It is the only aquarium featuring exhibits focused specifically on the rich and diverse aquatic life and distinctive ecosystems of the Bay and its neighboring waters. The Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and certified as a Green Business by the city of San Francisco. Additional information is available at www.aquariumofthebay.com.

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John Frawley | http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=76850

Christina Slager | http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=76851

Carrie Chen | http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=76906

SOURCE Aquarium of the Bay

Source: newswire

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