The Seahorse Nursery Nurse!

Aquarist Natalie Emmerson has been entrusted with a very special job...nurse to a fast-growing litter of baby seahorses.

Feeding and caring for around 20 fast-growing baby Australian big-bellied seahorses is a huge responsibility for the 28-year-old displays team member at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary.
Experienced senior colleague Chris Power advises and supervises, but he has been quick to harness Natalie´s natural ´maternal´ instincts and assign her as chief seahorse nursery nurse in his absence.

Now around six weeks old, the 20 babies have grown tenfold, from around 2mm at birth to 20mm.
Seahorses The litter originally numbered around 100, but seahorse offspring are so delicate and tiny that only around one in every thousand is believed to reach maturity in the wild.

"To have 20 still flourishing after six weeks is a remarkable achievement," said Natalie, "and each passing day increases their prospects of reaching full maturity."

Natalie´s duties include feeding her growing infants four times daily. They have now progressed from newly hatched microscopic brine shrimp to adult brine shrimp.

"They don´t have a stomach as such, and need to eat almost continuously to extract sufficient nourishment from their food," she explained.

The babies have their own special nursery pen floating in the tank their proud parents occupy.
"They were almost the first babies born here since we re-opened in the autumn after suffering horrendous flood damage the previous winter," said Chris Power.

"They would have been pampered regardless, but that fact makes them extra special and has probably ensured that Natalie and I have developed an even stronger bond with them."

Press Release issued by the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary
For more details please contact: Nigel Croasdale 01485 533576
Date: 30th April 2015

Photo credit: Ian Ward - Baby seahorse in a test tube

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