NEW! The Axolotl is a unique aquatic salamander with some distinct biological quirks. Unlike most amphibians, they never truly go through that metamorphosis process to become land-dwellers. As a result, Axolotls spend their entire lives in the water. Axolotls are only found in Mexico. They’re often referred to as Mexican Walking Fish. Unfortunately, these animals have become critically endangered in the wild due to habitat loss and pollution. Axolotls have amazing regenerative abilities! Not only can they fully replace a lost tail or limbs-- without leaving a scar-- but axolotls can even replace parts of their brain! Perhaps the most defining feature of the Axolotl is the gills which are located on protruding crown-like appendages that branch out from the head, called rami. They are positioned to the rear of the head, creating a very interesting look for the creature. Each appendage is covered in tiny gill filaments.
Meet our new Frogfish! This highly unusual looking creature has some very unique attributes. Not only can they change their color to blend into their surroundings, but they have a very special hunting strategy. If you look closely you will see a protruding lure on the head that is used to attract prey. Frogfishes are ambush predators, meaning that they lie in wait for their prey rather than actively chasing it down. When a small fish or other animal comes close to check out the dangling lure, the frogfish will open its large mouth and vacuum the creature inside.
NEW! Ball pythons are from west and central Africa, close to the Congolian rainforests. Despite having 100 sharp teeth, ball pythons do not chew their prey, but use their teeth to hold onto their food while they swallow it whole. Ball pythons are good climbers but are usually seen on the ground. Ball pythons can easily find prey in complete darkness because they have heat sensing pits located along their upper jaw. Pythons are an excellent example of why people should carefully consider what type of pet they want, and NEVER release unwanted pets into the wild. Pet pythons released in the Florida everglades have flourished and are now devastating the natural habitat. What started as a few unwanted pets, has become a reproducing population of more than 300,000 snakes.
This unusual fish called a walking batfish is a very poor swimmer, but has developed very strong pectoral and pelvic fins that it uses as hands and feet to creep along the sea floor. FUN FACT: When hungry, the walking batfish nearly freezes on the sea floor, moving the antennae-like structure on its nose, back and forth. When a small fish gets curious and moves in for inspection, it opens its mouth and sucks in the unsuspecting victim.
Baby Epaulette Sharks
Shark 'pup'date! Our baby epaulette shark pups are really growing. These juveniles were hatched at the aquarium in 2019. These amazing creatures can “walk” by wriggling their bodies and pushing with their fins along the sea floor and even on land when needed! For that reason it is often referred to as the “walking shark”. They love to hide but try and spot them in our Shipwreck Gallery.
Whitetip Reef Sharks
Barry and Blaze are our Whitetip reef sharks. They are hard to miss with their slender shape, pronounced gills and white-tipped fins. Whitetip reef sharks appear grumpy because of their down-turned mouth and protruding brow ridges. Whitetip sharks are calm during the day but transform into efficient hunters as they scour reefs at night! As they swim, they are known to move in an irregular waving style. The whitetip reef shark is highly responsive to the electrical cues given off by potential prey. It is especially sensitive to natural and artificial low-frequency sounds, like a struggling fish. As a hunting method, whitetip reef sharks sometimes chase and trap their prey in crevices where they can easily jam their slim bodies and snouts to catch it. Barry and Blaze will rest on the sandy bottom because this species of shark does not need to move to breathe like many other sharks. One of only a few species of sharks that does not have to continuously swim in order to breathe, the whitetip reef shark uses a method known as buccal pumping to pump water into its mouth and over its gills, enabling it to spend long periods of time resting in caves or on the seabed.
Have you met our Longhorn Cowfish? 🐮🐟 These cuties have unique defense mechanisms against predators. Their long horns prevent other fish from swallowing them whole. Also when threatened, they can release a poison into the water that can harm their predators. See if you can spot one hovering around our Contact Cove Gallery
Zenon the Zebra Shark
Zenon the Zebra Shark is the large shark with lots of black spots. Zebra sharks are nocturnal and hunt at night for crustaceans and small fish. During the day, they are sluggish like teenagers getting ready for school and like to rest on the sandy sea bottom which Zenon does a lot. Zebra sharks are born with stripes but as they get older the stripes are replaced by small black spots. Zenon will grow to be about 8 feet long. Zebra sharks have slender, sensory organs that look a little like cat whiskers at the front of their snouts to help them seek out prey. Adult zebra sharks are non-aggressive toward humans and have few predators other than larger sharks and humans. Zebra sharks are considered an Endangered Species everywhere in the world, except Australia, so we must do what we can to protect them!
Seahorse and Pipefish
Seahorses and Pipefish have prehensile tails that they use to hitch onto just about anything around them, including each other. The strange-looking, elongated bodies help them camouflage themselves in sea grass beds to avoid predators. FUN FACT: Similar to the seahorse, the male pipefish fertilizes and incubates the eggs, keeping them safe until the babies are ready to be born.
Poison Dart Frogs
A poison dart frogs colorful designs tell potential predators, "I'm toxic. Don't eat me." Scientists think that poison dart frogs get their toxicity from some of the insects they eat. How do poison dart frogs capture their prey? Slurp! With a long, sticky tongue that darts out and zaps the unsuspecting bug! Come check out these little cuties and all our other amazing animals.
How does a sheep crab eat? Crabs use their multiple appendages to hunt and eat. They use their antennae for touch and smell; a number of modified appendages act as a mouth for cutting, picking, sorting and pulverizing food; and the pincers, the most recognizable appendage, are used for grasping and tearing. Come on down and meet our sheep crabs and all of our other amazing animals.
Where did the horn shark get its name? From its short, blunt head with pronounced ridges over the eyes that look just like horns. While sleeker sharks rule the open waters, the horn shark hides out in the shadows of the seafloor. It is not a graceful swimmer and doesn't move around like its streamlined kin — in fact, sometimes the horn shark uses its strong pectoral fins to crawl along rocks.
Gee you’re swell! Our new swell sharks have a very unique response when they feel threatened. They swallow large quantities of water and swell to twice their normal size! This makes it difficult for predators to bite or pull the shark from its rocky crevice. When letting the water out, the shark makes a dog like bark!!
Shreveport Aquarium, in partnership with Caddo Lake Institute is actively rearing and reintroducing the American Paddlefish into areas where they have locally gone extinct. By raising this freshwater species onsite, the public can see and learn about them before the annual release into Caddo Lake. Although once common in Caddo Lake, the 300 million year old species had completely disappeared from the lake in the 70s. Come visit these special creatures at the aquarium!
Grey Reef Sharks
These sharks can be quickly identified by the dark lining along the back side of their tail fin. As their name suggests, this species prefers to stalk prey along coral reefs that are typically located in shallow waters near coastlines. They often stay within 200 feet of the ocean’s surface but are sometimes known to plunge to over 3,000 feet. They tend to lurk around rugged terrain, particularly around continental shelves, in relatively clear and calm waters. While overall population numbers for these sharks is unknown, they are considered near threatened due to habitat loss. Their preference for coral reefs is a significant vulnerability due to the continued destruction of these habitats around the world. Sharks play a vital role in keeping the ocean ecosystem healthy by feeding on animals that are lower in the food chain, but a number of shark species have been shrinking at an alarming rate. Overfishing, ocean pollution and shark finning are contributing factors in their decline. What can you do to help? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse
NEW👀 Come meet our new shovelnose sturgeon. Sturgeon live in freshwater rivers and are long-lived, late maturing fish with an average lifespan is 40+ years! Their evolution dates back to the Triassic period, 245 to 208 million years ago but despite surviving on Earth for millions of years, sturgeon are now vulnerable to overfishing for their flesh and roe (caviar) and interference in their natural habitat. FUN FACT: Sturgeon use their sensitive barbels to detect prey and vacuum the food items up through their long tubular mouths.
Meet the Blue Spotted Jawfish! Jawfish will protect their turf by occasionally spitting mouthfuls of sand at small intruders! While small in size, they use their large mouths to burrow into the sea floor. Male jawfish are also mouth brooders which means they incubate their young in their mouths until they are ready to hatch. While the Blue Spotted Jawfish normally sports a vivid yellow and blue coloration, they change color during their notable courtship rituals. While trying to attract a female, the male will often fade to a light yellow or nearly white until he is successful in attracting his mate!
Albino Snapping Turtle
Darla is a rescue albino common snapping turtle. Albinism is the absence of pigment is very rare and only occurs in 1 in 30,000 turtles. In the wild, albinos have a very low survival rate. Their light coloration makes it hard to blend into their environment which makes hunting and hiding difficult. Darla is safe here with us. For the most part, snapping turtles are opportunistic predators. Their usual diet includes fish, carcasses, mollusks, amphibians, worms, snakes, water birds, crayfish, aquatic mammals and other turtles. Like other reptiles, they do not eat when the temperature is too cold or too hot because they cannot digest their meal.
Rays are closely related to sharks. Did you know the only bones in a ray's body are the ones they eat? Their skeleton is made up of flexible cartilage (the bendy stuff that your ears and nose are made from!) Stingrays use electromagnetic senses to search for food. Special pits across the front of their face allow them to pick up electrical signals from other animals when they move. Stingrays protect themselves with venomous barbs in their tail. At the aquarium, we periodically clip the barbs off like fingernails so they can’t accidently harm someone.
Alligator Snapping Turtles
The prehistoric-looking alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America. With its spiked shell, beaklike jaws, and thick, scaled tail, this species is often referred to as the "dinosaur of the turtle world." With a bite force of 1,000 pounds, their powerful jaws can snap through bone—so they should never be handled in the wild. Interesting Fact: These amazing creatures have a unique worm-like appendage at the back of their mouth that is used to lure in prey close enough to become a meal.
Heartless, brainless and spineless and very beautiful. The Pacific Sea Nettles movement is mesmerizing! Its bell can grow up to 30 inches wide and their tentacles have been documented as long as 16 feet! Like other jellyfish, sea nettles are carnivores. They catch prey by paralyzing them with their tentacles, covered with nematocysts. Each nematocyst has a type of trigger that injects venom upon contact. The oral arms then transport the prey to the mouth, partially digesting it on the way. Nettles eat zooplankton, crustaceans, snails, fish and their eggs, and other sea jellies.
These baby alligators will be considered babies until they are 6 feet long. It’s hard to believe they will one day be as long as a car! They will grow about a foot per year until they are 10-13 ft long and weigh 800 pounds! What’s the difference between alligators and crocodiles? While they are both crocodilians, there are some distinct differences. Alligators have wider, U-shaped snouts, while crocodiles are more pointed and V-shaped. Alligators hang out in freshwater marshes and lakes, while crocodiles tend to live in saltwater habitats.
Tesselate and giant moray eels love nooks and crannies. They are ambush predators and spend a lot of time hiding in caves, rock crevices or coral reefs waiting for a prey animal to pass by so they can pounce on it. A moray eel appears dangerous because it continually exposes its mouth and teeth. This action, however, is not a hostile gesture, but simply the way an eel breathes. Moray eels are serious predators and their jaw structure reflects this. Not only do moray eels have the razor sharp teeth which you can see, they have double jaws and double sets of teeth! Just like an alien they have a hidden internal jaw called the “pharyngeal jaw”. When feeding they use their outer jaws to firmly grip their prey and then the pharyngeal jaw shoots forward and bites the victim and pulls it into the throat.
This alien-looking creature is named for its translucent, moonlike bell. Instead of long trailing tentacles, the moon jelly has short tentacles that sweep food toward the mucous layer on the edge of the bell. Plastic bags that end up in the ocean often look like moon jellies to animals that depend on these drifting creatures for food. Thousands of turtles and birds die each year after swallowing indigestible wads of plastic mistaken for jellies. You can help by eliminating single-use plastics in your daily routine!
Another amazing fish is the Picasso Triggerfish. Beautiful but cranky, Picasso Triggerfish are well known for their displays of temper—they can be particularly territorial around their nesting sites. They get their name from spines that they can use to lock themselves into crevices in rocks and reefs to hide from predators. When they want to come back out, the second spine acts as a “trigger” to unlock the first!
Meet some of our newest creatures and featured animals