Shark Week Shenanigans!

Although we can’t gather in person, we still want to celebrate shark week with you! Read on — we’ve got a full week of boredom-busting crafts centered around sharks. Be sure to share your work on social media and tag the GSC so we can see your cool creations!

Munch, Munch, Monday – What and How Sharks Eat!

Monday kicks off Shark Week at the Greensboro Science Center by answering the question, “What do sharks eat?” In short, sharks eat almost anything! Most sharks eat fish, some eat marine mammals like seals and sea lions, and a Bonnethead shark even munches on seagrass! Tiger sharks will investigate and occasionally eat pieces of metal. It is thought that the metal mimics the electromagnetic field given off by struggling fish.

Today’s Activity: Shark Fish Catcher Toy

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Create your own hungry shark and its fishy food, then play the game to feed your new friend!

Download instructions here.

Conservation Bite: You can help sharks by carefully selecting what seafood you choose to eat. Use the Seafood Watch app to help you navigate the best choices and which to avoid!

“TOOTH-ful” Tuesday – Myths and “TOOTHs” About Sharks

There are so many myths about sharks! One popular myth is that all sharks have big sharp teeth and love to chomp on anything they can. The truth is that sharks have a wide variety of teeth and each set of chompers is well adapted to what the shark eats. For instance, whale sharks don’t really use their tiny teeth to eat. Instead, they have filter pads lining the entrance to their throat that filter out microscopic plankton and krill. Another odd shark, Port Jackson sharks, have rounded pebble-like teeth used for crushing sea urchins, mollusks, and crustaceans.

Today’s Activity: Shark Tooth Necklace

Shark-Tooth-Necklace

Use our template to cut some teeth and create a shark tooth necklace to wear!

Download instructions here.

Conservation Bite: Looking for a cool shark tooth necklace? Make sure the tooth is a fossilized tooth and pass on freshly caught teeth. Many sharks are fished simply to make souvenirs.

Wonders Wednesday – The Wonderful Things About Sharks

Sharks have some wonderful adaptations to help them survive in their watery world. One of the strangest adaptations has to be the recent discovery that tiny teeth called dermal denticles cover whale sharks’ eyeballs! Whale sharks, about the size of a school bus, have eyeballs about the size of a golf ball that protrude from the side of their head. It is believed that the dermal denticles help protect their eyes and decrease drag.

Today’s Activity: Shark Binoculars

Shark-Binoculars

Make your own pair of peepers and see like a shark!

Download instructions here.

Conservation Bite: Whale sharks are an endangered species and are often caught in active fishing nets and abandoned fishing gear referred to as “ghost nets”. You can help them by supporting legislation that supports bycatch remediation and fisher education and training.

Thoughtful Thursday – Shark Conservation

Shark fins are FIN-tastic at helping sharks get to where they want to go! They are propelled through the water with their caudal, or tail fin, and the fins on the side of their bodies, the pectoral fins, help them steer up and down like the wings of an airplane. The iconic dorsal fin is like a boat’s keel and helps them swim straight ahead. As you can see, sharks need their fins. Unfortunately, about 100 million sharks are fished every year, most solely for their fins.

Today’s Activity: A FIN-tastic Shark Hat

Shark-Hat

Use our template to create a shark-inspired thinking cap to wear today!

Download instructions here.

Conservation Bite: Shark fins for soup and traditional medicines are still sold around the world. Shark fins are made of cartilage like our ears and have no known medicinal properties. Take a pass on products made from shark fins to help our FIN-tastic sharks!

Freaky Friday – Strange and Unusual Sharks

Goblin sharks have one of the freakiest shark mouths in the sea! Lurking in the deep ocean, more than 4,000 ft. down, goblin sharks have a long snout (rostrum) covered in electroreceptors called ampullae of Lorenzini. When they find a meal, their jaws jut out to pierce and grab the prey with their long, pointy, scraggly teeth. Those pointy teeth can even be seen when the shark has its mouth closed.

Today’s Activity: Origami Shark Biter Bookmark

Shark-Origami

Make this origami bookmark so you don’t lose your place next time you read your favorite shark story!

Download instructions here.

Conservation Bite: If you are out fishing and accidentally have a shark bite your hook, try to keep the shark in the water as you remove the hook. Many sharks can go into shock if brought out of the water even for a short time.

Super Saturday – Even sharks have superpowers!

Did you know that sharks have superpowers? They can “see” in the dark! Cartilaginous fish, such as sharks and rays, have ampullae of Lorenzini, or special sensing organs called electroreceptors, that form a network of jelly-filled pores on the shark’s body. These pores can be seen as small, dark spots on the skin of the sharks and rays. These electroreceptors help the sharks to sense electric fields produced by animals in the water and find their prey!

Today’s Activity: Flashlight Shark Search

Shark-Search

Can you spot the shark? In this paper craft, you’ll create an underwater shark scene searchable by spotlight! Template included.

Download instructions here.

Conservation Bite: You can be a shark superhero by symbolically adopting a shark through our Symbolic Animal Adoptions! Multiple adoption options are available. Find out more at https://www.greensboroscience.org/give/animal-adoption/

Fishing Kittens Born at the Greensboro Science Center on April 3

The Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is happy to announce that two fishing cats were born on Friday, April 3, 2020. The sex of the kittens is unknown at this time. This is the second litter of kittens born to Mako (male) and Tallulah (female) as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) fishing cat Species Survival Plan (SSP).

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Animal care staff have observed encouraging behaviors from both mom and kittens. Keeper Megan Hankins says, “Mom and kittens are doing well and eating well. Tallulah is very attentive to and protective of her babies and is taking great care of them.”

Keepers will continue to keep their distance from the new family as they settle in. Once Tallulah is comfortable being away from her babies, the GSC’s veterinary team will give the kittens a full exam.

It will be approximately three months before the kittens will be on exhibit – after they are able to easily move around, get in and out of the water, jump and climb.

Fishing cats typically stay with their mother until they reach around nine months of age. Rachael Campbell, Assistant Curator Terrestrial, says, “That is about the time that they would normally disperse on their own in the wild and you will see Tallulah actively trying to push them out at that point. They will not be introduced to Mako again. In the wild they are solitary so males play no role in raising the kittens.”

The GSC will continue to update the public on the kittens’ progress on the organization’s social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Voting Begins to Name Newest Penguins

The Greensboro Science Center is seeking the public’s help to vote for names for its two newest penguin chicks. The chicks, who are both male, hatched on January 22 and January 25, 2020 to parents Guinn and Vello. GSC volunteers submitted names and GSC staff narrowed down their selections to the top eight.

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The eight names the public is invited to choose from are:

  • Trevor
  • Jim
  • Waldorf
  • Hobbes
  • Marco
  • Mbaku
  • Nico
  • Dwight

Voting is taking place through 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 10. Vote here: https://forms.gle/1tFWNo6KrhRpwWmMA.

Since participation in the African penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) began in 2014, a total of 21 chicks have hatched at the GSC.

Shannon Anderson, the GSC’s lead penguin keeper, says, “We are honored to be actively participating in the African penguin SSP. Through their guidance, we have doubled our colony size and by doing so, have been able to transfer penguins to other AZA facilities, which ultimately improves genetic diversity in zoos and aquariums. We are incredibly proud of all the hard work we’ve put in to successfully raising 21 chicks!”