Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gulf World

Sea Turtle Snorting Water
We had a busy day today, starting the morning at Gulf World, the local marine park. We had the first car in the parking lot, although more families arrived as the morning progressed. Since there were no crowds, the staff gave us personal introductions to all the animals. Have you ever watched a sea turtle eating? They push water out through their nostrils before swallowing!
Bearded Dragon
Since it was quite chilly, many of the non-swimming animals were not in their outdoors exhibits, but we got to see them indoors, including exotic birds and this bearded dragon. Roar!
Otto - Sea Lion
Otto is a 500 pound sea lion with black teeth who lives at Gulf World. The staff gave great demonstrations on how they train all the animals.
Rough-toothed Dolphin
We are all familiar with the bottle-nosed dolphins who star in most marine parks, but this one also had rough-toothed dolphins, which are named for their 20-27 teeth with faint ridges located in both their upper and lower jaws. They have a small head with a long beak with no crease at the melon. Their dorsal fin is relatively large and tall and is located at the mid-back and they have relatively long flippers (pectoral fins). Body color is dark with white lips and throat and a dark dorsal cape that is narrow between the blowhole and dorsal fin. The belly (ventral) surface has irregular spots and blotches.Rough-toothed dolphins may be confused with bottlenose, spinner, and spotted dolphins, all 3 of which are species that have been observed associating with rough-toothed dolphins. They are most commonly found in tropical and subtropical deep waters from the western Pacific to the Mediterranean.
But as much as we enjoyed Gulf World, we didn't see any birds there! Let's go check out St. Andrew's State Park. Ah yes, this is the place to go birding! We are going back tomorrow, and I'll have lots and lots of bird photos!

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