Meet the Residents of Woods Hole Science Aquarium
Meet some of our Science Aquarium’s most fascinating and charismatic animals. Learn about each of them through fun facts, videos, and printable coloring pages.
Joy the Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Meet Joy, our Science Aquarium’s young loggerhead turtle. She is stubborn, feisty, and does things in her own time in her own way. Her powerful jaws allow her to eat hard-shelled creatures like sea urchins, horseshoe crabs, clams, and mussels. At the Aquarium, we are keeping her shell clean. In the wild she will carry many small animals and plants on it throughout her long migrations.
Loggerheads are an endangered species. That is one reason we are taking such good care of Joy, who is recovering from injuries that she sustained after cold-stunning.“Cold-stunning” is when a cold-blooded creature like Joy is suddenly surrounded by temperatures too cold for her body to work correctly. Joy's shell was damaged by the cold temperatures. Some of it died and fell off!
The inner coast of Cape Cod is a well-known world hot spot for sea turtle cold-stunning. More than 100 turtles can come ashore in a single day if there is an influx of unusually cold water, usually caused by a storm. In the 2018 mass cold-stunning event, one of them was Joy.
Joy spent nearly two years with us, regrowing her damaged shell and regaining her strength. In late August 2020, Joy was tagged and released back into the wild off Cape Cod.
Did You Know
- Loggerheads are found in all but the coldest oceans.
- Loggerheads almost never leave the water once they hatch.
- They are the most common sea turtle in U.S. coastal waters.
- Mother sea turtles return to the same beach where they were hatched to dig a hole in the sand, where they lay their eggs and cover them up. The temperature over the next 60 days determines the sex of the turtles that hatch.
- Floating plastics — such as plastic bags, balloons, packing peanuts—in the ocean are a threat to sea turtles. They often mistake plastic items for food and eat them, which can be deadly.
Make your world more turtletastic with our printable coloring page. Not only is it a great activity for kids of all ages, but it’s also an opportunity to learn about marine animals. Your masterpiece awaits! Download and print our Joy coloring page today! (PDF; 1 page)
Gilbert the Snowy Grouper
Meet Gilbert, our Science Aquarium’s young snowy grouper. He’s a favorite in the aquarium of both visitors and staff, probably because of his big personality. Snowy groupers are solitary predators, which is why Gilbert has his very own tank. He gets daily attention from his caretakers. They change his tank decorations and layout, give him sand baths, catch his interest through the tank glass, and provide him nutritionally rich foods.
Gilbert eats fish and gel food. In this video you will see him eat capelin, a member of the smelt family. Gel is a special food made fresh each week by aquarium biologists. It is a blend of raw fish, carrots, spinach, and a fish meal that has all the essential vitamins and trace minerals that Gilbert needs to stay healthy.
Did You Know
- All groupers allow a cleaner fish or shrimp to eat parasites and dead skin from their bodies—even inside of their mouths—and the cleaner fish and shrimp get some noms. In this relationship, called “mutualistic”, everyone wins!
- Snowy groupers are found in waters as deep as 1700 feet! That’s deeper than the Empire State Building is tall. Typically they’re found at around 300-650 feet.
- Snowy groupers are “lie and wait” or “ambush” predators. They stay motionless and wait for something yummy to swim by before they ambush them.
- Snowy groupers can live around 30 years.
Make your world more fishtastic with our printable coloring pages. Not only is it a great activity for kids of all ages, but it’s also an opportunity to learn about marine animals. Your masterpiece awaits! Download and print our Gilbert coloring page today! (PDF; 1 page)
About our Science Aquarium
The Woods Hole Science Aquarium was established in 1885, making it the country's oldest public aquarium. The Aquarium is designed for self-guided tours of the main exhibits and a behind-the-scenes look at Aquarium operations. Right now, the Aquarium is closed to visitors to help stop the spread of Covid-19. For now, we hope you enjoy these videos of your favorite animals. They miss you!