Orphan Opossum Finds a Home at Northwest Trek
Baby on Deck! Sea Lion Pup Born at Pittsburgh Zoo

Update! Shedd Aquarium's Baby Dolphin Nurses


You might have seen the first pictures of the new baby Dolphin born at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium on Memorial Day HERE on ZooBorns. Shedd's animal health care teams reported that the calf is nursing regularly, averaging about a minute every hour, which is an appropriate amount for a growing dolphin. Mom Piquet's nutrient-rich milk is loaded with fat that helps the calf gain weight. The calf is also learning to slip-stream, a technique where the calf saves energy by swimming in the wake alongside its mother.

“It’s been very exciting the past few days as our animal care team has seen a number of firsts for the calf,” said Ken Ramirez, Executive Vice President of Animal Care and Training. “The calf started demonstrating early signs of important learning behavior, such as mimicry -- after Piquet vocalized, we heard a definitive vocalization from the calf. Although we’re happy to see this progression, we remain extremely cautious as we continue to keep a close eye on both mom and calf’s development during the critical first weeks.”

Nurse 2




Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium

Here's a video of the baby nursing as they swim.

Read more about the baby dolphin after the jump:

“Piquet is a wonderfully attentive mom, so we have not needed to provide hands-on care, which would allow us to confirm the calf’s gender,” explained Caryn Poll, DVM, section chief of medicine at Shedd.  According to Dr. Poll, it is difficult to identify gender in dolphin calves without performing a routine physical as the difference between male and female anatomy is subtle. Female dolphins have mammary glands recessed in slits on either side of their urogenital opening, though males can sometimes have mammary slits as well. Based on visual observations, Shedd estimates that the calf is 3 ft. long and weighs about 25 lbs. 

Piquet and her calf will remain off exhibit for a few more weeks, as Shedd animal care experts continue to provide around-the-clock observation and care for both dolphins. For the latest updates on the calf, visit Shedd’s website at sheddaquarium.org, or follow the calf's progress on Shedd's Facebook page and Twitter account.