The Beauty of Animal Enrichment | South Carolina Aquarium

The Beauty of Animal Enrichment

Aug 20

The Beauty of Animal Enrichment

Artists come in all different shapes, sizes and…species!

Using animal-safe paint, our animals create beautiful works of artistic genius! Animal art is a major component of the Aquarium’s animal care, enrichment and training program. Created by the Aquarium’s husbandry and vet staff, the enrichment program is designed to provide our animals with opportunities to express natural, species-appropriate behaviors. Animal art, like other forms of enrichment, encourages animals to explore and interact with their surroundings, promotes improved health, increases physical and mental stimulation, and fosters curiosity. Animal art isn’t the only form of enrichment we offer our animals. For example, we create makeshift piñatas bursting with fish for Liberty the bald eagle, 3D-printed puzzle toys for the octopus to solve and frozen fishpops for the sea turtles. And much like people and their favorite hobbies, animals have enrichment preferences. For example, Ace the otter loves to paint, but his brother Stono prefers alternative types of enrichment.

While there are many forms of animal enrichment, there are few as beautiful and captivating as animal art! You’re familiar with the works of master painters Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Frida Kahlo, yes? Let us introduce you to the artistic masterminds of some of our four-flippered, paddle-pawed resident artists.

Meet the Artists

Lucky Peanut is a diamondback terrapin. Normally terrapins live in saltmarshes, but Lucky Peanut somehow ended up lost in the parking lot of a gas station! A kind passerby noticed she looked ill, picked her up and placed her in a boiled peanut cup until she could be rescued by the Aquarium. Now not only does Lucky Peanut feel much better since she arrived at the Aquarium, but she’s discovered her inner artist! She enjoys working with bold, sassy colors, especially pink.

Ace the North American river otter is a proud South Carolina native who is named after the ACE Basin. He is a member of the mustelid family and loves to swim and feast on tasty fish. This spunky otter creates artistic masterpieces using his webbed feet and long, furry tail as his paint brush. His style is abstract and colorful! Ace hopes that his art will inspire people to keep our rivers clean so that local wildlife can live in an otter-ly pristine environment!

Crepe the diamondback terrapin was found in the grass near the Aquarium after a storm. He was weak and dehydrated after spending time out of the saltmarsh, his natural habitat, so he was brought to the Aquarium for treatment. Crepe spends his days swimming around his tank with two other terrapin tankmates. Each week, Crepe likes to hit the canvas for his daily dose of exercise, mental stimulation and artistic expression.

Woodstock the diamondback terrapin was discovered weak and dehydrated following a big a storm. Luckily, she was rescued by the Aquarium and is doing great after just a few months in rehabilitation. Since arriving at the Aquarium, Woodstock has quadrupled in size! She loves using her newly robust figure to paint conversation-starting pieces that rival her idol and fellow artist, Jackson Pollock.

We believe enrichment and training, such as what you see with animal art, not only result in beautiful artwork and an engaging guest experience, but most importantly ensures that our animals are stimulated and active.

Not only do we sell animal art in our gift shop, but we do enrichment with our animals every day! Visit the Aquarium to see the creative ways husbandry and vet staff enrich our animals lives.

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