#47: Enrichment = Play Time!

Ever wonder what the seals do when they aren't participating in training sessions? Well for one thing, they entertain each other. With seven Atlantic harbor seals, there is always a lot of activity in the exhibit! In addition, we offer them many different enrichment items throughout the day. Enrichment is another word for play time. It is a chance for us to give the seals something that they enjoy outside of our training sessions. You'll see fur seals in some of the pictures below. If you've been following our blog, you know that they are temporarily off site while we build a new exhibit.

Hose enrichment is a big hit with many of our animals. If they are interested in the hose, they tend to glide through and present the area of their body where they want to be sprayed. Some prefer a high pressure massage around their neck and back while others like a mist over their whiskers.

We also give the seals a wide variety of toys. Many of these are dog toys because they are made to be durable and withstand sharp canine teeth. The green toy in the picture was actually made for horses. For our animals use, we fill it with squid ice cubes. The hole that you see on the top of the toy will dispense the delicious squid treats as the seal pushes it around.

Ice toys, or "fishsicles" as some people call them, are definitely a seal favorite. Fishsicles are made by putting a dog toy and some fish in a bucket and adding water. We freeze it overnight and by the next day it is ready for the seals to enjoy! Sometimes we also attach a car wash strip like the blue one in the picture above. That way the toy stays in one place so we can watch the seals play! It also gives aquarium visitors an opportunity to participate. For more information on how you can help us enrich the seals, check out the link for the Play with the Seals program!




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