Aquarist | Grainger Everyday Heroes

Aquarist | Grainger Everyday Heroes


There’s less than 10 fatalities every year from shark attacks and humans kill a hundred million of them every year: I always like to remind people that a human is a much scarier animal than a shark in the grand scheme of things. They’ve been around for millions of years, I’d like to make sure that they’ll be around for a million more. My name is Heather Urbaniak and I’m a Senior Aquarist here at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. I start at about six thirty in the morning, every day: When we get here you start off doing rounds, so rounds involves checking temperature, salinity, we also collect water samples early in the morning; super important part of taking care of aquatic critters is making sure that the environment they’re living in is doing good which is why we take water samples. After morning rounds we cut up food for everybody, feed it out. Each individual group is fed, they’re trained to come up to a station to feed. They have a target that we place in the water, a visual cue and also an audio cue, we use the clicker underwater just like you see the dolphins and whales train we train our sharks. Feedings do take a while, we like doing it that way, it keeps us organized. They don’t eat as much as a marine mammal or things like that because they are cold-blooded, they don’t have the metabolism of a mammal. So these guys, a lot of them are only getting fed three days a week. Depending on the group, some of them eat five days a week some eat four, others eat two days a week. We have baby sharks, so they’re growing, they have bigger metabolic needs because they’re putting a lot of energy into growing. They’re fascinating, they’re wonderful animals: Doing what I do I feel like I need to educate people on them, and also be be their voice and let people know things that they can do to help wild sharks and wild populations. I love, love, working with animals: It’s kind of like I didn’t really choose sharks, sharks chose me.

local_offerevent_note March 7, 2020

account_box Gilbert Heid


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