The problem with going to a zoo like Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is that there’s so much to see. You careen from one adorable animal to the next, end up with 50,000 photos, and then have to pick the best of the best when every single one makes you squee. We’re going to have to divide everyone into groups.
We’ll start with the aquarium bit, because it’s rather a nice continuation of our marine mammal molestation theme, and also because this is the first time I’ve come face-to-face-tentacles with an actual cuttlefish:
Okay, so that’s more of a side view, but still. THEY’RE SO CUTE!!! I never truly realized just how adorable they are until I saw this little dude just hanging out in his tank. I feel guilty now for all those cuttlebones we gave our budgies.
Follow me for more marine life.
This was also my first encounter with blind cave fish. Let me tell you something: the little buggers don’t know how to hold still for a low-light photo op. This was the best I could do:
They’re really incredible little critters. They also reflect a flash something fierce, so when my intrepid companion pointed out that, y’know, being blind and all, they probably wouldn’t mind the flash setting, the results were even worse than this. Ah, well. I remember how shiny and sparkly and utterly eerie they were, and you have the general idea.
Here’s something that we don’t have to hope will hold still:
That, it turns out, is a giant acorn barnacle. This, it turns out, is the World’s Largest Barnacle. I don’t know if Darwin ever got a chance to see any of them, but he might have enjoyed them before he burned out on barnacles.
Next up is a rough keyhole limpet, which I’ll have you know is no true limpet:
The aquarium has a huge circular tank in which various and sundry local sea creatures hang about, complete with wrecked boat:
And the world’s fattest starfish (or at least the fattest one I’ve ever seen IRL) lives right here:
I have no idea what this is, because it doesn’t match any of the things on the informative signage, but it’s too odd not to include:
Barnacle? Coral? No idea. And the fact that these things are so hard for me to puzzle out certainly gives me new respect for those folks who originally arranged these things into orders and families and so forth.
And here’s another, the rather cheerful-looking spiny scallop:
Next up: the hooded nudibranch, a predatory sea slug: