This year’s Wild Watermelon Day will be a first for many of our animals. Since the fish featured in the Carolina SciQuarium weren’t with us for last year’s event, our lead aquarist, Sarah, decided to perform a little “test run” to see how they would react to the special treat. Our generous partner, The Fresh Market, was kind enough to supply several watermelons a few days before the event for this purpose.
First, the watermelons were hollowed out and carved. Since they were being given to animals in the SciQuarium, they were decorated with an aquatic theme. In this case, the watermelons were carved with the outline of an eel and a fish. The designs were created wide enough to accommodate curious fish who might want to use the watermelon as a hiding place (or perhaps as a snack bar for those with an adventurous palate).
Next, dive weights were placed in each watermelon and they were dropped into the test areas – in this case, the Amazon exhibit and a holding tank for the Shark Reef. The fish in the Amazon exhibit tended to steer clear of the watermelon. They didn’t seem to be interested in the newest addition to their habitat.
At first, it seemed the fish in the Shark Reef holding tank were more interested in the camera than the watermelon. After a few minutes, though, they became accustomed to being in the spotlight and started to explore their new sweet shelter. A few hours later, they were observed taking a taste of their treat and seemed to enjoy it immensely.
The results of the Wild Watermelon Day Test Run seem to be that watermelons are best suited as shelters and snacks for saltwater fish. Freshwater fish aren’t quite as intrigued by the treat.
Wild Watermelon Day is Saturday, August 3 from 10am – 1pm. For more information about this event and an animal enrichment schedule, please visit our website: http://www.greensboroscience.org/events/special/watermelonday/.