Ensuring Happy and Healthy Environments
Nutrition: Every day we prepare balanced meals, catering to the taste and nutritional needs of 1,500 species of invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The species-specific diets have been designed by professional veterinarians and include seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables and live foods such as insects and planktonic animals cultured on site.
Healthcare: The health and protection of our animals is of utmost importance. Our animal care team and veterinarians work side-by-side regularly monitoring our animals to ensure each animal is in good health. We require that all our employees follow our policies which are in full alignment with the policies of OSHA, local animal control, and the veterinarian protocol for the protection and care of all our animals.
Training: Many of the animals have been trained to participate in their own healthcare. By learning behaviors like “step up” and “present” the animals are not only more comfortable with regular examinations, but it makes the exam safer for both the animal and the veterinarian. Providing our veterinarians with safe, immediate access to an animal is one of the most important aspects of training.
Environment: Clean, comfortable, naturalistic habitats round out animal care. A computerized life-support system controls temperature, salinity, filtration, and other parameters, guaranteeing animals’ specific needs are met, from chilled saltwater to tropical freshwater environments. Our team members clean all exhibits and habitats daily with weekly deep cleanings done as well. All of the cleaning products used are safe for animals and approved for use by our veterinarians.
Specialized Team Members: Our animal care teams are filled with trained professionals, many of which hold degrees in biology, zoology, and marine biology. We’ve also gone beyond standard requirements by giving on-going specialized training to all members of our staff. Our teams work closely with veterinarians, and local officials as well to ensure our animals needs are always met and even exceeded.
For the Welfare of Our Animals
Question: Are social animals being kept alone?
While you may notice a social animal alone during your visit, all of our social species get ample time to interact and engage with other animals. Our large birds are either housed in their own homes or an aviary within the same area allowing them to communicate, groom, and engage with one another in a safe environment, much as they would do in the wild. Nana, the otter, has a very unique situation. In her previous home she did not pair well with other otters. Determined to find her a friend, our experienced husbandry staff did extensive research, including consulting with our veterinarians, other biologists and other zoos to ensure the best fit. We have recently added another otter to the group. We’re happy to announce that Nana, the new otter, and the capybaras have bonded! They sleep together, eat together, play together and have become nothing short of best friends!
Question: Are animals stressed out from interacting with guests?
Our dedicated team of husbandry specialists work closely with our local veterinarian to ensure not only physical health, but mental health as well. Animals enjoy hours of enrichment and training with specialized staff. If we observe that a particular animal could use a break from being around guests, we are happy to move them to a temporary house in our backroom to give them a quiet space to relax or nap. Our specialized team members as well as our guest services team members keep an eye on each enclosure throughout the day to ensure all guests are interacting with the animals properly. Some animals, like Stormin’ Normin the Sulcata Tortoise, enjoys walks around the facility with one of our team members. As SeaQuest is our animals’ homes, we work diligently to ensure each of our animals are happy and comfortable in their home.
Question: Are the animals overfed or underfed?
While we do allow guests to feed a variety of different animals, the amount of food given each day is closely monitored. Only a specific total amount of food is given out each day for each area. On busier days, our food portions are smaller and on slower days they are larger, ensuring the animals receive the same amount of food each day. Depending on the species and their sleep cycles, all animals are offered food either before we open or after we close to supplement their diet. During this time, we further supplement their food with vitamins.
Question: Do the animals get UVA / UVB exposure?
All of our diurnal animals have enclosures equipped with UVA/UVB lighting that replicates sunlight. Many of our animals also enjoying going outside with one of our team members to enjoy some time in the sun either before or after operating hours.
We hope these have answered some of your questions regarding the care and welfare of our animals. But the best way to truly know about SeaQuest is to come and see for yourself! We look forward to seeing you!