April 1, 2007 The National Aquarium in Baltimore is home to over 16,000 different varieties of animals, so that in one day visitors can travel around the One of the most toxic animals in the world -- the poison dart frog -- lives here. The National Aquarium in Baltimore is part of a renowned poison dart frog breeding program, with herpetologists supplying frogs to other zoos and aquariums. The Aquarium also has one of the most extensive turtle collections in the country.
Enter an aquarium and an underwater zoo comes alive with fish of all shapes and sizes. But if you want more than just a fish-tank view, the National Aquarium in Baltimore is home to over 16,000 different varieties of animals, for a rare visitor experience.
"In one day you can really travel around the world and see a frog that's only found in one little remote part," the aquarium's General Curator, Jack Cover, tells DBIS.
One of the most toxic animals in the world -- the poison dart frog -- lives here. Its bright colors warn predators to keep away, but herpetologists learned they aren't very dangerous living inside the aquarium. In fact, Cover says dart frogs born and raised in captivity are completely non-toxic.
And if frogs aren't your thing, "Turtles are really interesting animals," says Cover. "They first appeared on the planet about 300 million years ago." The National Aquarium in Baltimore has one of the most extensive turtle collections in the country, helping keep some of these slow movers from their biggest threat -- cars! According to Cover, what's the best feature of this "ZooArium?" Getting an up close experience inside, without outside hassles.
"You're gonna see a lot of diversity and the best thing, you get to see them without the extreme heat and the mosquitoes that would normally be chewing you up if you were out in the wild," he says -- a wildly fun experience.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore is part of a renowned poison dart frog breeding program, supplying frogs to other zoos and aquariums. Cover says the best time of year to visit the aquarium is in the winter, and ticket prices range from about $14 to $24 depending on age.
BACKGROUND: The National Aquarium in Baltimore features hundreds of exhibits and has more than 16,500 animals. It measures 115,000 square feet and holds more than one million gallons of water. Among the top exhibits today are an environment of Australian animals, a dolphin exhibit, and an exhibit about frogs, the most populous amphibian.
AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS: The Aquarium's Australian exhibit, Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes, depicts stories of animal survival in Australia's dry environment. The highly adaptive animals in wild Australia have survived over millions of years in a land of drought, fire, and flood. Australia, roughly the same size as the United States, is the worldýs largest island. Separated by ocean from the rest of the world, Australia has a higher percentage of native animals than any other continent on earth, meaning that many of its species are not naturally found outside the country. These animals -- living creatures that are as close to prehistoric as can be found on earth -- developed over millions of years in solitude.
MARSUPIAL MAMMALS: Australia is famous for its marsupial mammals, which carry their developing young around in a pouch. The mother delivers the babies, still in the embryo stage, when they cannot live by themselves, from inside her body into this pouch. The embryo crawls up and attaches itself to the mothers nipples, located inside the pouch. It continues to develop there, and eventually starts leaving and returning to the pouch in later stages of its development. Over 200 of the 334 species of marsupials are native to Australia, but just one species native to the US, the Virginia Opossum.