Choosing to adopt an animal is a fin-tastic way to show your support for The Deep and contribute towards valuable conservation efforts for marine species across the globe.
Within this private Adopters' Page you will receive exclusive news and information just for you. We will be sharing up to date news on your animal, inside knowledge from behind the scenes and any animal antics going on.
To view all the news relating to your adopted animal, simply select the species from the drop down below.
Grumpy Season is Coming
We are coming up to the moulting season again in August so if you are visiting around that time be prepared to see very untidy, grumpy looking penguins!
In the run up to the moulting season the penguins will eat more than usual to build up their fat resreves as during the moult they don't like to eat or swim as much. Our penguins have been known to eat 2 weeks worth of food in just 2 days! As they put on weight we have to change their wing bands to a larger size to accomodate their expanding wing size! They then lose on average 3% of their body weight per day and spend much of their time out of the water looking very scruffy and feeling very itchy!
Below is an exclusive behind the scenes video just for you of the penguins during their happier times being very noisy waiting to be fed by Lloyd.
Wing band change
The Gentoo penguins at The Deep have been getting their wing bands changed! During their annual moult, the penguins' wings expand a little meaning we have to change their wing bands to accommodate a slightly chunkier wing! Now, in late September it's time to change them back to a smaller size. We also take the opportunity to weigh them as well as do a little trim of their toe nails!
The penguins have been enjoying a kind donation form our Amazon Wishlist - a disco ball with coloured lights! This provides a source of enrichment that is a bit different to normal, and appeals to their curious nature!
The Amazon Wishlist includes items that our Husbandry team would find really useful for enrichment and day to day care. From cleaning equipment to cameras, there’s something to benefit most of our animals! If you would like to purchase any items from our Wishlist please click here.
Penguin Party in shutdown
On 18th June, one of our youngest penguins Lizzie celebrated her 4th birthday! Our Keeper Helena brought out some special toys and an extra large sharing bucket of sprat for the colony.
Lizzie was one of 2 chicks born at The Deep in 2016, along with Attenborough. She is very sweet in personality, often cuddling up to the Keepers when they enter. She’s also a big foodie so it was very nice of her to share on her special day! Can you spot her in the photo below from her pink and blue wingband?
Here is an updated version of our penguin bios, including our 2019 chicks, Humber and Wilberforce. Do you share a birthday with a penguin?
Summer 2019 saw us welcome 2 Gentoo penguin chicks to our colony, the first in June and the second almost exactly a month later. There was just one thing we all wanted to know – were they boys or girls?
We sent their feathers off to be DNA tested and we’re delighted to announce we have two boys! Following a vote on social media, the names Wilberforce (Wilber) and Humber were chosen. Both chicks have been doing really well and have already established themselves in our colony of Gentoo penguins in the Kingdom of Ice area of The Deep
They're not the first penguin chicks we've had at The Deep. Our first chicks arrived in June 2016 and were named Attenborough and Lizzie after David Attenborough and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who both celebrated their 90th Birthdays that year.
All of our penguins have successfully paired since their arrival in 2014 with breeding and nesting behaviour observed each subsequent year – a clear indication that they are happy in their home.
The Babies are Growing up!
Our juvenile Zebra sharks who were born in 2019 continue to grow in the Endless Oceans holding area and are now well over 1 meter in length.
Here is a sneaky behind the scenes peak at how they are doing...which is resting. They like to do a lot of this!
Wondering how these sharks can still breathe whist resting?
Many sharks species have to swim to be able to breathe as they need the movement to force oxygenated water over their gills. With the zebra shark being a bottom-dwelling shark, they have an amazing ability to use a sophisticated set of muscles to take water into their mouth and pushing it over their gills, enabling them to breathe whilst not swimming.
Virtual dive show
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Government advice to avoid crowds gathering, we have been unable to carry out our usual 2pm dive shows and instead, our divers hand feed the sharks and rays outside of opening hours. In this video you can see our diver Phil carrying out one of these to feed the Zebra shark, Southern stingrays and Honeycomb whiptail ray.
Did you know? Our grey reef sharks are fed by pole from the top of the exhibit. This is because they are a very active species who use a fast ambush technique when they feed so for their safety and our divers’ safety keep our distance when feeding them. Zebra sharks however are a very placid species and can easily take food by hand!
Growing Zebra shark pups
Put on a few pounds during lockdown? Us too. But for our growing young shark pups, this is excellent news! Our 3 baby Zebra sharks, born in 2019, are still behind the scenes, being cared for by our Aquarists.
Our Husbandry Supervisor Tom gives us an update on the 3 girls:
• Petrie Is 9.5 months old and now weighs 2.5kg, she is the baby of the group but is definitely the greediest!
• Cera is 10 months old and weighs 3.2kg she is definitely the most active and spends a lot of time zooming around her enclosure.
• Lil Shosh is almost a year and will turn 1 on the 25th of July, she weighs 3.3kg and is the most chilled out of the 3 girls.
• They all like to eat squid, mackerel and whiting, but by far their favourite is large prawns!
This species is Endangered so it's very important that we consult with the studbook keeper to see how they can contribute to the European breeding programme. A studbook is created for species identified as being at risk and requiring management under a breeding programme.
Meet Timothy, our resident Nurse shark, who joined us in 2014 from Oceanarium Bournemouth.This species is listed as data deficient on the IUCN Red List due to lack of information available.
Measuring in at 2.5 metres in length and weighing a healthy 100kg (a whopping 15 stone). Nurse sharks have powerful crushing jaws which are filled with thousands of tiny, serrated teeth. They inhale their food then blow it out repeatedly when eating which means feeding times for Nurse sharks can be quite noisy and dramatic especially when served their favourites of mackerel and squid and Timothy is no exception!
Nurse sharks like Timothy are slow moving bottom dwellers and can often be found resting on the sea floor during the day. They use a method called Buccal pumping to breathe, they have muscles in their mouth which they use to suck water in and supply oxygen to the gills. Other shark species such as Great whites and Whale sharks are unable to stop swimming at any time, they need to swim continuously so that water constantly flows into their mouths and over there gills supplying oxygen.
Timothy can often be found taking it easy in the Endless Oceans tunnel between the rocks on the left!
We’re telling the tooth!
It's amazing what you find at the bottom of our Endless Oceans tank. It has 2.7 million litres of water in it and 87 tonnes of salt, but guess what other treasures we have found? As you can see our Aquarist, Lloyd has a handful of teeth that he found recently during just one dive.
He told us, "Quite often you spot them at the bottom of the tank, but one dive I decided to spend five minutes or so actively looking for them, and came up with quite a collection!".
The small, largely triangular-shaped teeth are from our Grey Reef and White Tip sharks. It's not a problem when sharks lose their teeth, it's actually a very natural process. Their teeth fall out regularly and are replaced by new ones that grow through in almost a conveyor system. As you can imagine, it's important for such predators to have sharp teeth to enable them to efficiently catch and eat their prey.
The larger tooth you can see is actually from the rostrum, or nose of one of our Green sawfish. They also lose and replace their teeth regularly.
Still Growing Strong
Sensa has now topped 100kg at her last weigh in!
Thats equivelant to around 1000 deck of cards, 1500 tennis balls or 40,000 pennies!
Don't worry though this is a very healthy weight...an adult Loggerhead sea turtle can weigh up to a massive 200kg!
4 years ago (Feb 2017) we welcomed Sensa and Mabouche into our Deep family. Both turtles were rescued from the wild after being caught on fisherman’s long lines in the Mediterranean, which damaged their lower jaws. Even after rehabilitation at a special centre in Italy, it was decided they couldn’t go back into the wild as they wouldn’t be able to catch their own food. They have since become firm favourites of staff and visitors here.
Our Loggerhead sea turtles have been enjoying extra attention from our divers recently. In this video, Sensa is being fed by our Diver Richard. Richard uses a yellow target, which Sensa knows is her signal for food time! You may be able to see the damage to Sensa's beak which is the reason she cannot be released back into the wild. This happened when she got caught in fishermans' longlines in the Meditteranean and she was subsequently rescued and cared for in Italy before being rehomed at The Deep along with Mabouche.
Our Loggerhead sea turtles Sensa and Mabouche have been getting all the love and attention they need during shut down. Just like humans need vitamins and minerals, so do they! Calcium is a very important mineral for an animal with a shell (or bones!) and these cuttlebones are a great natural source, providing plenty of calcium to keep their shells healthy and strong.
The Aquarists here are letting MaBouche nibble on the cuttlebone, which not only helps to keep her beak healthy, but also provides an enrichment activity – she loves to nibble and play with different textures!
Another source of vitamins for the loggerheads is seaweed. The turtle keepers have found that Sensa, after being fed Nori since she joined us in 2017, actually prefers a different type of seaweed called Wakame, so they have changed her diet to suit. Sushi lovers may be able to appreciate the difference!
Here is some footage of Sensa swimming in a very quiet and deserted Endless Oceans, taken on 30th June 2020 exclusively for our Adopters. She is still very chilled out but we think missing the extra attention from visitors!
As visitors leave The Deep after their visit, we have one more surprise in store. As you exit you can see our turtle-y amazing Yellow spotted Amazon River turtles. Native to the Amazon River Basin, this species are classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Redlist.
Only the males and young females have the yellow head markings and can grow up to 45cm and a top weight of 8kgs, with the females being larger than the males.
These river turtles are diurnal, which means they come out of the water and are active during the day. They spend their time basking in the sun warming themselves on logs, stones or river banks and in the calm pools of the big rivers and streams and feeding on fruit, leaves, fish and molluscs the females will dig burrows
This species of turtle is unable to tuck its head into its shell like others, however it can bend its neck sideways and tuck its head in and under the rim of its shell for protection.
The females dig burrows in the riverbanks to lay their eggs, laying up to 30 eggs per clutch. The hatchlings emerge after 66-159 days and are on their own and completely independent, heading to the water once the yolk sac is absorbed.
Look out for these guys near the gift shop during your next visit.