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American Alligators and Garden Eels Now on Exhibit

Aquarium Home to Two New Species

Garden eels and American alligators are the newest species at the Aquarium.

In spring, we all think of gardens, and the ABQ BioPark Aquarium has been busy with its own garden of sorts. In the Pacific Gallery, a bed of garden eels is emerging. These small, tube-like eels dig holes for themselves in the sand, rooting their bodies beneath the surface, their heads waving like a garden of grasses in the current above.

"We put 22 garden eels in the exhibit, but you can still only see ten or so at a time," says Holly Casman, Aquarium Manager. "The others are hiding in the sand. There are also gobies, scooter blennies, cardinal fish, damselfish, sailfin blennies, firefish and mandarin fish that add activity and color to the tank."

In the Gulf Coast Gallery, closer to the Aquarium's entrance, visitors can see two young American alligators. The species, native to the Gulf Coast, was nearing extinction by 1966, but conservation efforts have brought this animal back from the brink. Now, they are thriving in the wild.

One of the alligators on display was rescued after being left in a box outside near Albuquerque. "Alligators are cute as the dickens when they are little, but they grow quickly" says Casman. "People can't take care of them at home as they grow. They don't make good pets."

Visit the new animals this Saturday or Sunday and save 50% off single admission tickets during Half-Price Weekend.

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