How do Ocean Animals Breathe? – Ask Two Zookeepers 1


Hi everyone, we’re back with another edition
of Ask a Zookeeper, except this edition is a little bit different because we actually
have TWO zookeepers. What a treat! My name is Steve, I work as a zookeeper, and
this is my coworker Amanda. Both of us work together taking care of birds
and lots of other animals. We have a lot of conversations and a lot of
interest in biolo… biolology? Biology! We have a lot of conversations about that
and we would like to bring you in on one of our conversations and see how it goes. Did you have a question or did actually not
decide before I did that? We did not decide. That’s why I was like, “Okay.” Do you want to know anything about other types
of animals, like sea animals? A lot of your questions are about sea animals. I actually studied Marine Biology, so I theoretically
know more about sea animals than I do about birds. I was always really confused by the bird lessons
in class because they would describe something like the bird respiratory system and I would
be like, “Okay, that made no sense whatsoever. Can we talk about sea urchins now, because
that is what’s interesting!” All right, well if you’re bringing up respiratory
systems… Yeah, bird respiratory systems are so, so
bizarre. No, no, sea creatures. Oh, sea creature respiratory systems. Yeah! Because, I mean, they’re filtering the oxygen
in the water, not in the air. That is unfamiliar to me. But I’m sure they’re not all the same. Can we pick, like, a sea horse? Sea horses are fish. They take in water through their mouth and
pass it over their gills. They have two bony opercula, like two bony
covers, and gill slits, and they open up their opercula, water shoots out the back, and they
close the opercula and pump in more water. Okay! It’s pretty simple. Seahorses… funny story about seahorses,
are terrible, terrible swimmers. They are so bad at swimming. Is that why they just hold onto things all
the time? Yes! That’s why they hang onto things all the time. I worked in an aquarium as a volunteer and
we actually fed the seahorses. So we would have to turn off the water current
in the aquarium. The seahorses knew that was when feeding time
was, so they would all rise out of the grass at the same time. It was really pretty, and really cute, and
you would put in brine shrimp at the top, and they would swim as hard as they can, but
they’re barely moving. Then they grab a brine shrimp with their mouth. It’s fun to watch seahorses eat. They’re really, really bad at eating. I have no idea how they survive. That’s awesome! I would like to see video of this. Sure. Okay, what about the respiratory system of
something like a sea star? Ah. Or a sea cucumber. No, that’s really good. Sea Stars are a good one. They have a hole in the top. It’s called a madre porite. Some latin word? Madre is like “mother” and porite is like
hole, so yeah, it’s exactly Latin. A thing in science words is that they’ll name
something in Latin, and you think it’s really fancy. But then when you hear it translated into
English it’s just the thing that you said in English translated to Latin. So you’re like, “What’s that brown bird that
makes a loud noise?” And they’re like, “Blah blah blah.” And it translates to the brown bird that makes
a loud noise. That’s how science words work. Especially in biology. Okay, madre porite up in the top. They have a vascular water system that extends
through all of their arms. That’s actually how they move. Sea stars move by hydraulics. Wow, like I needed one more reason to love
sea stars. Each of those little tube feet, they pump
water into it, and the pumping of the water is what makes it extend outward, and then
they withdraw water and that makes it suction on. They have control over this whole hydraulic
system that extends through all of their arms. Wow. It’s water pressure that makes it work. They take in water through the madre porite. It’s got some oxygen in it. They can also take in oxygen passively through
their tube feet. Okay, cool! That is awesome! Sea cucumbers are kind of interesting for
their respiratory system. They have branching, dendritic “lungs” basically. It’s inside of their bodies. And one of the ways they can defend themselves
is they can evert their lungs and throw them up onto a predator and run- or crawl- away. Yeah, I think I’ve heard of this. If you can imagine a mammal or a bird doing
this. The hawk flies down towards a robin, and the
robin is like *cough* and coughs up its lungs and flies away. It’s like, “You take it, here. Lungs!” But the lungs detach? Yeah. Do they grow new ones? Yeah. Oh, they’re echinoderms, of course they do! That makes… woah! It takes a month or so. But yeah, they say, “Here, take this. I’ll make a new one. I didn’t need it anyway. Here you go.” But wait, how do they breathe if they don’t
have lungs for a month? They have to passively absorb oxygen for a
month. So they probably can’t do as much activity. I don’t know what sea cucumbers do anyway. But they would have to “lie low” for a while. The sea cucumbers are like, “Hey, can you
go out and play?” And it’s like… “No, I’m sick, I gotta rest. I need my lungs. Sorry, man.” “I gotta grow new lungs.” What a good excuse to avoid a party though! Because you can just be like, “Sorry, I coughed
up my lungs earlier.” They can’t know. They can’t check. Yeah. Okay, so we just established that sea cucumbers
are the introverts of the sea. Yeah! I bet nobody invites sea cucumbers to parties. I would! The way that they eat, they stick out their
branching tendrils and dab it gently on the bottom, hoping to pick up some fish poop. Then bring it all back into their mouth. You want them at your party? I mean, I assume they would be in a tank. Because I’m a human, and there’s air and stuff. But it’s not really safe for someone to transport
their tank just to bring their sea cucumber to my party. What if they did that to your nachos? Like, blehhhhh. Who is the irresponsible person who took this
sea cucumber out of their water to eat my nachos? Mmm. I guess… You know how I would bring a sea cucumber
to a party though? How? Bring the party to the sea cucumber! Oh, fun! Go out into the ocean? I was thinking more like at the aquarium. I could gather a bunch of people to go to
the aquarium. Yeah, you’re all like, “Woo! We’re having a party!” And the sea cucumber is like blehhhh. But with a party hat. Okay. Always the hats. Yeah. Now I gotta learn how to make water-safe party
hats. Right, and glue. No. No? That’s nice that you wouldn’t glue a hat to
a sea cucumber. No… do they have like… I know they don’t have chins, but could I
attach a little string, like tuck it under the sea cucumber? Oh yeah, that would work! Okay. Okay, good. There you go, if you need an entrepreneurial
venture, party hats for sea cucumbers. Amanda will buy one. You can just take that. If you want to give me a cut of the money,
or give Amanda a discount on sea cucumber hats, that would be really generous of you. But yeah, feel free to have that idea. Yeah, that’d be great, thanks. All right, so with that, we’ll end our first
edition of Ask a Zookeeper with TWO zookeepers. I think it’s the tenth Ask a Zookeeper, but
we’ll start renumbering it at this point. I hope you enjoyed learning a lot about animals
and some other things as well. Learning about us, too, like whether we want
sea cucumbers at our parties. But I hope you have a great week, and thanks
for stopping by this week for learning what makes Life awesome. Cool. All right. That was more fun. Yeah, it felt more natural because we were
talking about sea cucumbers.

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