#142: Fur Seal Over Ice on The Boston Globe's front page

If you've seen the front page of The Boston Globe today, you've seen Ursula, a Northern fur seal, relaxing on 300 pounds of ice. While her exhibit at the aquarium is a pleasant 58 degrees F, Ursula still enjoys this cool spot.

Photo by David Ryan/Globe Staff

Northern fur seals are found throughout the Pacific Rim from Japan to California and are comfortable in a wide range of temperatures. The ice blocks were brought to the exhibit by the Aquarium's Director of Communications, Tony LaCasse. He thought the fur seals would have fun with ice blocks on a hot and humid day. He picked up 900 pounds of ice and schlepped it to the aquarium in his Toyota Matrix. Clearly, Ursula is now Tony's biggest fan!

- Jenny



#141: Seal of the week: Reggae

It has been a while since our seal of the week blog. The arrival of our fur seals and the opening of the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center has certainly kept us busy. So, sorry for the delay and on we go with our Seal Of The Week! This week we are going to highlight Reggae.

Reggae is a male Atlantic harbor seal born at the New England Aquarium on May 30, 1993. He is the son of Smoke and the brother of Amelia. Just like Smoke, Reggae has no spots on his belly. He also happens to be the largest of our seals. His maximum weight is 230 lbs!

Reggae knows a lot of different behaviors. One of the newest is a high five that Lindsay posted last week. Check it out! He also recently had an x-ray done of his teeth. Through training, Reggae learned to hold a small x-ray plate in his mouth while on his back. He had to hold completely still with the hand held x-ray machine against his chin. Stay tuned for a video blog showing how great Reggae was during the procedure.

In addition to doing x-rays of his teeth, we also brush Reggae's teeth on a regular basis. Unlike humans, seals have no molars for chewing. Reggae uses his sharp teeth to grip onto the fish that we feed him and then he swallows it down whole. His birthday blog shows what that looks like. We want to make sure that those teeth stay in tip top shape. Here is a picture of Reggae having his teeth brushed.

We are always working on new things with Reggae so every session is different. We feed Reggae and his exhibit mates four times a day so come check it out!




#140: Harbor Seal HIGH FIVE!

This was my first behavior I trained with Reggae from start to finish. I actually trained it twice; the first time I did it, I didn't notice how much his flipper was curling in when he hit my hand-that hurts! So I backed up a few steps and fixed that flipper flat.

It was a cool learning experience to know that you can go back to tweak an already trained behavior. What a smart seal!