We made it to Sarasota last night and woke early today for "Morning Rounds" at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. We helped check the health of various tank environments and learned about the dietary needs of a variety of species. It turns out sea turtles are one of the easier residents to feed because the jellyfish they eat are grown right at Mote. Though we had learned from Hayley that sea turtles get very ill because they sometimes ingest plastic bags, a side-by-side display of moon jellies and white grocery bags showed that they are nearly identical in the water. No wonder the turtles get confused.
We were unable to come to an agreement as to our favorite creature at Mote. For a few of us it was the stingrays. They were very excited when they saw us and splashed by slapping the water with their wide fins. We got to feed them a breakfast of raw shrimp and to rub their slick skin as they swam over. This helps desensitize them so they could spend a day in the touch tank.
The otters were a show unto themselves as the siblings rolled and argued. We spent quite a while watching them slide down the slope and into the water. After a few minutes they would roll in the warm sun.