Baby Nautilus - A ZooBorns and Birch Aquarium First!

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A few thousand posts later, it's getting harder and harder to showcase new species on ZooBorns. Well today we have a special treat: the first baby Nautilus for Birch Aquarium at Scripps and the first Nautilus to be featured on ZooBorns! This little guy or gal was a long time in the making. The egg was laid in early November of 2012 and the hatching process has taken weeks... all leading up to last Wednesday, when it finally emerged!

So far, the hatchling appears to be doing well. However, raising a baby Nautilus is both an honor and challenge because only a handful of aquariums have had the opportunity. The photos of the emerged Nautilus below were taken and shared with ZooBorns the day of the birth. The photos of the Nautilus emerging from its shell were taken over a series of weeks. It's a slow process!

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Nautiluses are ancient cephalopods (relatives of octopuses, squid and cuttelfish) that long pre-dated the dinosaurs and have remained relatively unchanged for 500 million years!

Back in the November, the eggs were laid in the display tank and then removed and placed into an incubator tank where the temperature was maintained at 76 Farenheit. The eggs were glued onto a vertically positioned piece of plastic in order to keep them upright. Water changes using only "extra clean" natural sea water were performed weekly to keep the incubator tank clean. The multi-week hatching process is detailed in the photos below:

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