« PreviousContinue »
WO thousand captive sea- One attendant devotes about half of each dwellers, imprisoned for day to the preparation of the food, and life yet apparently quite several others are kept busy the remainhappy, daily dine together der of the afternoon in feeding. The under one great roof in food is varied to suit the size of the
the City of New York. specimen, and consists of beef-sliced, And one of the oddest, most picturesque chopped, or minced-liver, and fish, cod sights anywhere to be seen by human and herring, mostly. A considerable eyes is that of the serving of these two amount of live minnows and shrimps is thousand diners-guests of the great also used. Aquarium,-because the '213 different Among the chief attractions of the species have 213 differing appetites and Aquarium at present, from the fact that as many separate ways of satisfying they are almost entirely new and rare to them.
popular eyes, is the pair of curious seaThe fact that over a million and a half
cows, or manatees, from Lake Worth, persons passed through its door during Florida, the only ones in captivity at the past year, nearly five thousand daily,
present in any country. The first sucstamps it as easily the most popular
cessful picture ever secured at close show-place in the world. It was turned over to the management of the New
range, showing the peculiar head and York Zoological Society two years ago.
nostrils of one of these creatures, raised Through the courtesy of Mr. Townsend,
out of water in the act of taking food, is the director, and Mr. W. de Nyse, in
herewith reproduced. The animals in charge of the marine collections, the their wild habitat are especially shy and writer was afforded special facilities for cautious of man, diving and disappearobtaining typical poses of the animals at ing immediately on his approach. feeding-time, a favorable opportunity Owing to their peculiar tropical habits for catching characteristic and life-like they are given special treatment and care, positions. Lunch hour is about three such as suitable warm temperature, beo'clock, and though many miss it, is tween seventy and seventy-two degrees one of the most interesting and spectacu for the water of their pool, and a suflar events of the day.
ficient quantity of nourishing food. EelGetting up the daily menu for the vast grass and lettuce leaves strongly tempt assembly of fishes requires more labor their appetites. The former, however, is and expense than is generally known. used in more abundance when obtainable. The Aquarium collector spends much of manatees broke and escaped through the his time searching for this substance. net before two were finally obtained.
The larger sea-cow, a female, is eight They reached the Aquarium in May of and one-half feet long, weighing 600 the past year, and have considerable pounds, the male is about two-thirds the swimming space in a tile-lined pool, size and weight of its mate. They were twenty feet long by thirteen wide, with a captured by Alligator Joe, of Palm depth of four feet of water, which is Beach, and were taken in a large drag- renewed daily. seine. Numerous attempts were made at The feeding of the sea-cows is watched different times for a month, and seven with unusual interest by the visitors.
Mr. W. de Nyse, with a suspended handful of eel-grass, can coax the female to raise her head and neck completely out of the water.
Sea-cows have peculiar structure, having no front teeth, hind limbs, nor hip-bones, but a huge, beaver-like tail, while their bones are the heaviest known among mammals. The best view of the animals is obtained when the water is drained from the pool strikingly outlined. When this is done open half a foot or more in readiness to the large female usually rolls upon her dart at and swallow the first unsuspectback and remains in this position until ing victim that swims by. the water returns.
for tank cleaning, leavFEEDING MANATEES, OR SEA-Cows, WITH EEL-GRASS IN THEIR POOL. ing the whole form
This queer inhabitant of the sea is The home of the sea-cow in the United caught in traps and also on hooks. The States is limited to the Indian River native negro fishermen lose no time in lagoons of the eastern coast of Florida. immediately cutting off the head when Other species are found in various trop- one is landed in the boat. A big speciical regions. In
men which hapcaptivity they sel
pens to get loose is dom live longer
said to cause a than five · or six
veritable panic, the months. The pres
whole frightened ent pair, however,
crew jumping are apparently as
overboard on the healthy as when
instant. first received.
The morays are Probably the
especially noted in star attraction of
history for the surthe Aquarium is
prising use made the silver-bedecked
of them as a means spotted moray.
of torture and punThis extraordinary
ishment by the denizen inhabits
Ancient Romans, the caverns, grot
in the time of Autoes and coral
gustus. In a pool reefs of Bermuda,
was kept a colony and is one of the
of enormous size. most interesting of
Whenever a slave the many strange
gave any serious sea marvels from
offence or otherthis tropical isle,
wise angered his which is celebrated
inhuman master, he for its gorgeous
was unceremonicolored types of
ously cast therein fishes. A whole
with hands tied tank is given up to
and left to the ravthe display of this
ages of the niorays. brilliant coated
Of all the specimen, which is
Aquarium's boardnearly three feet THE MAINE HARBOR SEALS, BEGGING COR A FISH ers the little seain length. The
horses, six inches striking picture
long, are the most reproduced at the head of the article fantastic in appearance. They are so shows the moray in characteristic attitude named from the close resemblance of when the strange creature is about to re- their heads to that of a horse. The food ceive a strip of cod for lunch. This, the necessary to whet their appetites is somefavorite food of the moray, is passed to what odd and hard to obtain. It has and fro close to the open mouth, when been found that they can be kept to good the animal suddenly gulps the tempting advantage only when they are well supmorsel. In the ocean depths they are plied with gamarus, a very minute crusvoracious and very cannibalistic in their tacean procured by gathering bunches of habits and are the terror of the other fine sea-moss, which it inhabits. fishes. With their long bodies partly In feeding, the fish's mouth is placed concealed by being wound around some near the small prey, for which it conledge or crevice, they lie in ambush, their stantly searches, and is suddenly opened. ponderous jaws, with lance-like teeth The cheeks being inflated at the same
time, the food is captured with the inrush the male for shelter. The position of the of water. When bunches of sea-moss body is usually vertical, especially in are dropped into the tanks the fish im- swimming. Sea-horses are found all mediately scamper to the bottom and pick along the American coast, from Cape out the minute life from the weeds. Cod to South Carolina.
The sea-horse is probably the only fish The clever maneuvers of the two little having a prehensile tail. It uses this in harbor seals from the Maine coast share a monkey-like fashion, constantly an- the popular interest with the sea-cows. choring itself to weeds, stones and sticks. They are hearty eaters and are given The eggs, while hatching, are carried by strips of cod and herring for their lunch
eon. These are usually . thrown into the pool, but oftentimes, when the seals come up high on the platform, the food is suspended over their heads for a moment to be then eagerly snapped at. These creatures are rapidly • disappearing from our coasts; owing to their ravages on the fish, many of the New England States now offer a bounty of from $1 to $3 for the destruction of these animals, in order to protect the fishing industry.
The nine-foot alliIN THE FISHES' KITCHEN.
gator from Florida is
EXTERIOR OF TIIE NEW YORK AQUARIUM, FORMERLY OLD CASTLE GARDEN, BATTERY
PARK, NEW YORK CITY.
one of the most reluctant and irregular or more, when the attendant swiftly feeders at the Aquarium. Several days pushes a big fish, which is held in readand even weeks will pass without his tak- iness, into his mouth. The average ing any food. He is roused up from board-bill for catering to the appetites stupor by being punched with a pole. of the Aquarium's guests for one month His anger is shown by growling and the is $100, but the instructive entertainopening of his ponderous jaws a half foot ment they furnish justifies the expense.