Join us this week as we take a closer look at the Pyramids of Love at Moody Gardens! Learn about the intricate relationships and courtships that take place in the animal kingdom throughout the week on our blog and look for our trivia questions on Facebook & Twitter for chance to win Aquarium and Rainforest tickets. Make sure to stop by February 14-16 for Valentine’s Day themed animal enrichment and presentations at the Aquarium and Rainforest Pyramids.
Enjoy several keeper presentations inside the Aquarium Pyramid including South Pacific exhibit dives at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. penguin feedings at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and seal feedings at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., as part of the weekend extravaganza.
Let’s take a closer look at the relationships among the beloved penguins, seals & sea lions of the Aquarium Pyramid:
Fun Facts :
- All of Moody Gardens’ penguins have an annual breeding season.
- Most penguin species are monogamous (one male breeds with one female during a mating season), but may not mate for life.
- Both the male and female take turns incubating the egg(s), except for Emperor Penguins, in which only the male incubates it.
- Incubating time varies from one month to 62 days.
- All of our smaller species build nests out of rocks and usually lay 2 eggs.
- King penguins carry their 1 egg on their feet.
Look for these penguin courtship behaviors:
- Ecstatic Displays- vocalizations, head swinging, stretching head and neck upward with flippers held outstretched.
- Bowing- One or both of the penguins dips its head and points its bill at the nest or at the other bird’s feet.
SEALED WITH A KISS:
Harbor Seal Courtship:
- Harbor seals usually return to the same breeding grounds every year.
- Males and females exhibit pre-mating activity such as rolling, bubble-blowing, and mouthing each other’s necks.
- During the mating season, male harbor seals exhibit underwater vocal displays.
- After the pupping season, males initiate true mating behavior by chasing, neck- and flipper-biting, and embracing.
- Females respond by growling, head-thrusting, and flipper-waving.
Sea Lion Courtship:
- California sea lions tend to breed on the same section of beach year after year.
- Successful mating has been observed in males as young as two years.
- A male with an established territory breeds with an average of 16 females in one season.