- Porcupine Pufferfish
- Green Moray Eel
- Electric Eel
- Caribe Piranhas
Our Porcupine Puffer is named Puff Mamma! On several occasions she has become pleasantly plump and expelled thousands of eggs into her tank making it look like a 1,000-gallon snow globe. They do not produce baby puffers without a male around to fertilize the eggs. The infertile eggs would rot and foul the water, so they must be quickly removed. Her favorite food is crabs. From time to time, we offer her a live crab, which is a natural food item. She gets to use her strong teeth and powerful jaws that are perfectly adapted for crushing and consuming the entire shellfish. it is cosmopolitan, meaning it is found in the tropical Oceans, Seas and Gulfs around the world. Their strong teeth are fused together to form a powerful "beak-like" structure. They eat various "shellfish" such as crabs, shrimp, snails, etc., which they simply crush with their strong teeth. Their teeth continually grow, so from time to time the puffer will chew on shells, rock, or coral to maintain their teeth. Our specimen will bite off concrete and chew it down to gravel. When ours inflates she is the size of a basketball (though we don't want her to do so) Puffers exhibit facial recognition and in captivity will eagerly greet their keepers and often back away from strangers.
Green Moray Eel
Our Green Moray Eel is named "Egor II", named after his predecessor from many years ago, "Egor".He requires a secure net to be attached over the tank, or else Egor II would crawl out like a snake. He is spoiled and likes to be hand-fed. When he smells food in the water he goes straight to "his" back corner where food is offered to him through the mesh of the netting. His favorite food is gulf shrimp tails, the kind we boil and "peel-n-eat", except we don't peel or cook his shrimp. It has been documented that Green Moray Eels in the wild often partner with another large fish of a different species, even patrolling their territory together. In our display the Green Moray and the Porcupine puffer have such partnership. They can often be found touching one another throughout the day, as if they find security in knowing the other is there. They are found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean from Brazil to the New Jersey. The skin is olive to brown in color; a thick yellow slime coat gives a healthy specimen its green appearance. They can exceed 8 feet in length and weigh around 50 pounds Moray Eels are fish and they have an excellent sense of smell. They are nocturnal and hunt at night, however in captivity they adapt to our daytime routines. On the reef, certain fish and shrimps called "cleaners" often live with the eel. The eel welcomes the cleaners, since they remove and eat parasites from the eel, as well as food from the eel's teeth.
The Romans were very fond of moray eels and kept them as pets. Legend says that one Roman entertained his dinner guests by feeding disobedient slaves to his morays.
These eels breathe by opening and closing their mouths which passes water and oxygen over their gills. Because this shows off their sharp teeth, the behavior is often mistaken as aggression.
Green moray eels only appear to be green. Their leathery skin is actually slate blue. The yellow mucous that protects their skin from bacteria and parasites gives the eel its green hue.
Electric eels are found in the stagnant waters of South America’s freshwater river basins. Despite their name, electric eels are not technically “eels” but are considered part of the knifefish order and are closely related to catfish. Electric eels can produce two types of electricity: low voltage and high voltage. Their low voltage electric pulses sense their surrounding environment. Electric eels are nearly blind, so this ability helps them to navigate and find food. High voltage attacks are used to catch and stun prey like fish, crustaceans, and small vertebrates. These shocks can produce over 600 volts of electricity! They are protected from these electric shocks by a thick layer of insulated skin that covers their entire body. Electric eels can grow up to 8 feet and weigh as much as 44 pounds!
About the Memphis Zoo Electric Eel
Our Electric Eel is named Electra and her favorite snack is earthworms. Electra moved from the Landry's Downtown Aquarium in Houston,Texas to the Memphis Zoo in October 2017. Electra spends their day lying in wait or swimming around their display searching for food. When the aquarists stand over the top of the display at feeding times, Electra eagerly swims over and aggressively eats, sometimes making quite a splash. Electra has occasionally been seen interacting with guests and aquarists through the glass.
One shock isn’t likely to kill a human, but several shocks can cause heart and respiratory problems that can lead to drowning.
Electric eels use a low voltage (10v) charge for navigation and a high voltage (up to 600v) charge for self-defense and hunting.
Can somebody get me a snorkel? About every ten minutes Electric Eels go to the surface to get a gulp of air.
South American fish with razor-sharp teeth ranging from northern Argentina to Colombia, but they are most diverse in the Amazon River, where 20 different species are found.
We have 35 piranhas here at Memphis Zoo! Their favorite snack is Capelin or Shrimp. Our group of Caribe Piranhas joined our aquarium collection in July of 2019. The Caribe Piranhas enjoy hanging out in their school, occasionally chasing each other. Like piranhas in the wild, they remain relatively still, waiting for their next meal. The Caribe Piranha, or Black Spot Piranha, are native to the South American rainforest and can be found schooling in warm streams and lakes.These fish are characterized by their red fins and belly, as well as their grey-brown body that is speckled with gold and silver flecks. They get their name from the large black spot behind their gills.Piranhas are famous for their sharp teeth and aggressive appetite. They will eat any type of meat available, from fish and insects to birds and rodents! Piranhas are normally found in schools that hunt together in feeding frenzies. These large groups also deter predators from attacking.Piranhas have a single row of tightly packed, interlocking, triangular shaped teeth used for puncturing and shearing. These teeth are replaceable! If a tooth is lost, they can grow a new one in its place! Normally, Caribe Piranhas are between 6-10 inches in length when fully grown, but some individuals have been reported to be up to 24 inches!
When large birds feed their young fish from the river. The remains of these fish sometimes fall into the water becoming a meal for the piranha waiting below. The small birds learning to move around the nest and branches sometimes fall into the water too. This availability of food has conditioned the piranhas to attack anything that falls into the waters from these trees. When located, the attacking scout signals the others. This is probably done acoustically, as piranhas have excellent hearing. Everyone in the group rushes in to take a bite and then swims away to make way for the others. This makes the water very dangerous for any animal entering it, especially during the dry season when food is scarce. Piranhas during the dry season are trapped into small pockets of water and become very hungry. However, reports from researchers in the field who have entered these waters report no active aggressive behavior. Still, caution is required of any animal that has been conditioned to a ready food source and there are indeed reports of the fish biting humans in certain fishing areas.
Piranha means "tooth fish" in the Brazilian language of the Tupi people. However, not all piranha species have a taste for blood; some are vegetarian. Most piranhas get a bad rap as terrifying predators that will tear to shreds any flesh that dares dip into its waters. This isn’t true. Some piranhas are omnivorous and eat more seeds than meat, according to Smithsonian magazine.
Most piranhas don't get any bigger than 2 feet (60 centimeters) long.