Ask the Aquarium
|Ask the Aquarium is the place to find information about aquatic life in North Carolina. The monthly column is published as a public service by more than 30 newspapers across the state.|
Sharks, Rays and Skates
- Do sharks lose teeth like people do?
- How many kinds of sharks are there?
- What is a shark’s sixth sense?
- Is a Whale Shark a whale or a shark?
- Is there a difference between a Tiger Shark and a Sand Tiger Shark?
- What kinds of sharks are found off the North Carolina coast?
- What is the difference between skates and rays?
- What is the most dangerous shark in North Carolina?
Alligators and Crocodiles
- What is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?
- Can alligators be found in North Carolina?
- Do alligators have ears?
- Do turtles ever leave their shells?
- What is the difference between turtles, tortoises and terrapins?
- Which sea turtle is most commonly found in North Carolina?
- When do sea turtles hatch and how can I get to see them?
- On my way to work most afternoons in warm weather, I see turtles lined up on a log in a swampy pond beside the highway. Any idea what kind they are?
- What’s the difference between a seal and a sea lion?
- Do we have manatees in North Carolina?
- Do we have otters in North Carolina?
- What’s the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise?
- What kind of whales visit North Carolina?
- What’s the difference between river and sea otters?
- Are dolphin and porpoise the same animal? Which are we seeing from out boat at Wrightsville Beach?
- What can you tell me about triggerfish? I see them in aquariums and on restaurant menus.
- Are toadfish and frogfish the same creature?
- How did lookdown and stargazer fishes get their names?
- Is a spadefish the same thing as an angelfish?
- What fish are native only to North Carolina?
- What is the fastest fish?
- Which ocean-dwelling male fish actually gives birth?
- What is North Carolina’s state saltwater fish?
Fish: Behavior & Biology
- How dangerous are barracudas?
- Do fish talk?
- Why do fish school?
- What causes fish kills?
- How can you tell the age of a fish?
- How do fish defend themselves?
- What’s the difference between a bay and a sound?
- What are wetlands and why are they important?
- What is sargassum?
- What lives in an estuary?
- Why is a maritime forest different than other forests?
Snakes and Other Reptiles and Amphibians
- What should I do about all those little green frogs that get on my outdoor houseplants each summer?
- Is there such a thing as a soft shell turtle? I thought if a turtle’s shell was soft it meant it wasn’t healthy.
- Are salamanders lizards?
- How did the poison dart frog get its name?
- Is there a difference between “venomous” and poisonous?
- Does North Carolina have chameleons?
- How many venomous snakes are found in North Carolina?
- What is a hellbender?
- Are snakes and eels related?
Invertebrates, Crustaceans, Sea Shells, Etc.
- What do starfish eat?
- Do we have moray eels in North Carolina waters?
- We like to catch blue crabs off the dock when we visit the beach, but when the weather cools we can’t find any. Where do they go?
- What kinds of jellyfish do we have along our coast?
- What are those little gray bug-like things that dig into the sand where the waves break on shore?
- What are those little shells on the beach that look like butterfly wings?
- I found a round, purple, prickly ball about the size of a lime at Cape Lookout jetty. It looked like a pin cushion. Can you tell me what it is?
- Scotch bonnets are North Carolina’s state shell. Why are they so hard to find?
- When is a good time to find shells?
- How does an octopus eat?
- What are sea shells made of?
- Are there really such things called “sea beans”?
- Where do seahorses live and what do they eat?
- I hear horseshoe crabs are used for medical testing. Are they killed?
- What are those white crabs I see on the beach, and how can they live out of water?
- Do we have octopus and are they dangerous?
- Which is the most intelligent of the invertebrates?
- Which coastal crab is known as a living fossil?
- What sea shells can be found in North Carolina and when is the best time to look for them?
- Is a star fish really a fish?
- We found a long, coiled string of little “packets” on the beach. It was kind of white, and each packet was about the size of a quarter. Any idea what it was?
- How do people catch crabs in pots?
- Do we have lobsters in North Carolina waters?
- I used to catch crawfish as a kid, but I don’t see them much anymore. Are they still around?
- We found what someone said was a spider crab at Cape Lookout. It has legs like a snow crab. Are spider crabs and snow crabs the same thing?
- While fishing in Bogue Sound near Atlantic Beach this summer, I saw some jellyfish I had never seen before. They were about the size of a large saucer, kind of clear-colored and had spots. Any idea what they were?
- Is there a difference between exotic and invasive species?
- How do you keep the Aquarium tanks clean?
- What’s the difference between skin and scuba diving?
- What is an endangered species?
- What causes waves to sometimes flash a blue-green light at night?
- Are the small, clear blobs that get caught in my net in the sound jellyfish? It doesn’t look like they have any tentacles.
- On a visit to the fish camp on Cape Lookout, I heard a fisherman mention an animal called a nutria. What is a nutria?