Above: Kimmeridge Bay Copyright Stewart Canham. Below: Common Cuttlefish Copyright Christine Roberts
Dorset Wildlife Trust is delighted to welcome new arrivals in their aquarium at the Fine Foundation Marine Centre, Kimmeridge.
Rescued by a warden
At the beginning of August a cluster of cuttlefish eggs, or sea grapes, was found washed up on the beach. If left on the seashore the eggs would have quickly dried out in the sun and died. Luckily Dorset Wildlife Trust wardens were able to take the eggs to the Marine Centre and set up an aquarium for them, not knowing whether they would survive.
After waiting patiently the eggs finally hatched earlier this week and staff at the Centre were thrilled to see the first of the tiny animals emerging from their eggs.
Trainee warden, Sammy Chaffey said “I thought I was just looking at small rocks when I suddenly saw the baby cuttlefish swimming around. It is amazing to watch the way they move and camouflage so well.”
The Marine Centre has successfully hatched and raised cuttlefish every year since 2006, with the creatures being returned to the sea where they can continue to grow into voracious predators; using their extendable tentacles to catch prey such as small fish and crabs.
Cuttlefish are a type of mollusc, related to squid and octopus. They are best known for their ability to camouflage, enabling them to instantly change their colour and texture to blend in with their background or communicate with other cuttlefish.
"It's good to give nature a helping hand"
Marine Centre manager, Julie Hatcher said “Our marine wildlife has undergone massive decline over the centuries so it is always good to give nature a helping hand, however small that may seem. It is very rewarding to return these animals to their natural environment where we hope they will continue to thrive.”
For visitors wishing to meet our new cuttlefish, the Fine Foundation Marine Centre, Kimmeridge, is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30am until 5pm until the end of September, from October to April the centre operates under reduced opening hours. Entry to the centre, with its small aquarium and range of children’s activities, is free (£5 toll road charge per car).
To find out more about the Fine Foundation Marine Centre click here
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.