The Tennessee Aquarium has welcomed multiple new baby animals to its facilities this summer, including an unexpected baby turtle, a penguin chick and thumbnail-sized baby pufferfish, according to a news release.
An expected four-eyed turtle hatched on June 10, and the statement from the aquarium said the arrival of a second baby was a bit of a surprise. Keepers found it on July 11 in an enclosure that housed a single female turtle that hadn't been around any male turtles in a year.
"The adult female hadn't been with a male in over a year, so we did not check to see if she had laid this year," said Bill Hughes, the facility's herpetology coordinator, in the release. "To say the least, finding an egg, let alone a hatchling, was unexpected."
While the aquarium isn't 100% certain as to what happened, the release noted that "females of some turtle species have been documented to store sperm until conditions favor fertilization."
A gentoo penguin chick also hatched this summer on June 24 to parents Flower and Blue.
The release states that in the past few weeks, the chick has put on weight — going from 4.5 ounces to 5.3 pounds, and has already developed a strong personality.
"For the first two weeks, it was pretty mellow, just looking around and studying everything," said Loribeth Lee, the Aquarium's senior aviculturist, in the release. "Once two weeks hit, though, it developed a strong personality and loves to yell and slap at anything that moves too close!"
The last of the new births are three 2-month-old long-spine porcupinefish. Senior Aquarist Kyle McPheeters described them as some "of the cutest fish we work with."
Once these fish are large enough, they will be added to a new exhibit in the aquarium's Ocean Journey building.
— Compiled by Tierra Hayes