Anticipation is peaking at the Dolphin Discovery Centre as one of their resident male seahorses is due to give birth to up to 300 babies “any time now”.
Yes, you read that right. It’s the male not the female seahorse that gives birth.
Two of the five seahorses residing at the centre are pregnant – with one more ready to pop than the other.
Preparations for the birth are in full swing with tanks set up and feeding regimes put in place to optimise their survival.
Volunteer coordinator Jill Coldwell said baby seahorses had been birthed at the centre previously and expects caring for the baby seahorses to be “tricky business”.
She said the babies were vulnerable as they were minute in size and as a result could be easily sucked up by the tank’s filter and swallowed by their parents.
“Everyday when the volunteers arrive the first thing they check is the tank,” she said.
“We’re very excited and a bit anxious because the success rate for breeding and maturing baby seahorses is very, very slim but there is some hope.
“If they give birth over night, they might end up eating their babies if we’re not there.”
Ms Coldwell said the pregnant seahorses had drummed up a lot of interest by visitors who were especially surprised the male species gave birth.
Giving us an insight into how seahorses mate, Ms Coldwell said the male does mostly all the work in the relationship and courts the female with his best dance moves, by flashing his different colors and puffing up his brood pouch.
If the female likes him, they link tails as part of a courtship dance and later join bellies so she can deposit her eggs in his pouch for fertilisation and incubation.
“He’d puff his brood pouch right up to look huge so she would be impressed and go “Oh wow he can have lots of babies”.
“I recommend to men - don’t do that part because it might not be so attractive to us.
“Also, they’re monogamous so once they find a partner they are partners for life.”
Just to re-cap, male seahorses give birth, get fat and stay with their partners. Safe to say men have a thing or two to learn from their seahorse counterparts about effort and loyalty.
Entry to the Dolphin Discovery Centre is free for locals till September 30 and is open from 9am to 2pm.
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