Looking Back at 2019: Baby Animal Recap

This year saw a number of exciting new arrivals at the National Aquarium. As we anticipate the arrival of the new year and what’s to come in 2020, let’s take a look back at the adorable baby animals that joined us in 2019! 

Published December 12, 2019

Striped Burrfish Babies Baby burrfish

Three baby striped burrfish kicked off the new year, arriving to the Aquarium in the first week of 2019! Upon arrival, they measured only a few inches in length, but will grow to be 10 inches long as adults. In their natural habitats, burrfish inflate their bodies with water when they feel threatened, and their always-erect spines provide them with a constant and solid defense.

Blue-headed Pionus ChickBlue-headed pionus chick

Following a 24-day incubation period, a blue-headed pionus chick hatched at the National Aquarium on April 26. The hatchling received behind-the-scenes care from Aquarium staff and its parents, two residents of Upland Tropical Rain Forest. Pionuses are born without their beautiful green and blue plumage, which takes many years to develop…but seriously, could this featherless baby bird get any cuter? The first few months of a blue-headed pionus’s life are spent getting a handle on the basics–learning how to fly and perch on branches, for example.

Juvenile Turtles at the Floating Wetland PrototypeBaby wetland turtles

It’s exciting to see wildlife return to the Baltimore waterfront, and the floating wetland prototypes between Pier 3 and Pier 4 have become a habitat to many species native to the Inner Harbor! This summer, several juvenile turtles were discovered living in the marshy underbelly of the wetland. Aquarists spotted young snapping turtles and red-eared sliders and believe that they’ve taken to this spot because it provides great protection from birds and other predators.

Puffling Alert!


Macaroni the puffling had a solid 15 minutes of Internet fame when People Magazine reported on this chick’s late-September hatching. Female puffins typically lay one egg per year and take turns incubating it with their mate for nearly six weeks. Macaroni spent 40 days in its burrow being fed and cared for by parents Vigo and Staypuft before fledging with a full coat of feathers, ready to join fellow puffin denizens of the Sea Cliffs exhibit.

We’ll be reflecting on the past year’s events as we count down to 2020–stay tuned!

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