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contact: Thom Benson 423-785-3002


Fishing for Aquarium fun facts

  • The arapaima in the Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit has grown from just 12 inches to more than six feet.

  • Alligator snapping turtles grow very slowly after reaching adulthood. The large male alligator snapping turtle in the Delta Country gallery weighs 160 pounds, and could be more than a century old.

  • Weighing in at more than 100 pounds, the big blue catfish in the Nickajack Lake exhibit are among the largest catfish on exhibit in the United States.

  • Gentoo penguins are the third largest penguin species in the world. (Emperor penguins are the largest, followed by king and then gentoo.)

  • Macaroni penguins are the largest members of the crested penguin species.

  • Birds and amphibians at the Tennessee Aquarium eat nearly 300,000 worms and mealworms each year.

  • Fish in the Tennessee Aquarium eat more than 1,200 pounds of restaurant-quality
    seafood, 336 heads of romaine lettuce and 168 bunches of broccoli each month.

  • Red piranhas, despite their sharp teeth, are relatively timid and rarely bite humans.

  • Sharks never run out of teeth. When the front teeth become worn or break off, new ones replace them. During its lifetime, a shark will produce thousands of teeth.

  • Sharks have the same five senses as people, but they also have a sixth sense that allows them to detect weak electrical signals generated by their prey.
  • Green moray eels are actually blue, but their yellow slime layer makes them appear green.

  • Snakes do not have external ears, but an internal ear allows them to pick up vibrations in the ground through the lower jaw.

  • A snake's forked tongue picks up molecules in the air that give it a sense of smell.

  • Amphibians not only have the five basic senses - touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell - but they can also detect ultraviolet and infrared light in the earth's magnetic field.

  • Frogs are by far the largest and most flourishing group of modern amphibians and are found on each continent, except Antarctica.

  • The sex of many reptiles - lizards, turtles and crocodilians - is determined by the incubation temperature of their eggs.

  • The age of some turtles can be determined by counting the growth rings on the plates of their shell like counting the rings of a tree.

  • The male arawana – a large Amazonian fish –  will carry his young in his mouth until they are large enough to fend for themselves.

  • Sturgeon have pharyngeal teeth in their throats that are used to "chew" their food.

  • Despite the rock-like or plant-like appearance of corals, they are animals – tiny creatures that live together in large colonies.

  • Although bamboo sharks breathe oxygen in the water through their gills, the brown-banded bamboo shark has been known to survive up to 12 hours out of the water.

  • White-spotted bamboo sharks are regularly consumed by humans and used in Chinese medicine.

  • Octopi are considered the most intelligent of all the invertebrates. Although they are shy, they are also curious and explore their environments.

  • An octopus has the ability to change colors, which helps the octopus hide or hunt or reflects its mood.

  • A cuttlefish can change the texture of its skin, raising or lowering it to help the animal blend in with rocks or coral.
  • To protect itself from predators, the giant spider crab uses its bumpy carapace to blend into the rocky ocean floor, or it will adorn its shell with sponges and other animals.

  • There are nearly 265,000 species of butterflies and moths in the world.

  • Butterflies eat nectar from the blooming flowers in the sunlit garden, artificial nectar and fruit.

  • Seahorses are the only fish with prehensile tails that are designed to grasp or hold. They use their tails to hold onto objects-like sea grass, coral or each other.

  • The bony plates on seahorses provide protection from predators and in some species, make the body semi-rigid. Because of this, seahorses don't move their bodies in a wavelike fashion as most fish do, but glide gracefully by fanning their delicate fins.


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