Meerkats Get a Christmas Gift at Maritime Aquarium — a New, Larger Living Space

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Connecticut’s only mob of meerkats — the popular family unit in The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk — is moving into a big new exhibit that connects their desert story to the influences of the ocean on climate and weather. — an announcement from The Maritime Aquarium

Beginning Dec. 26, The Maritime Aquarium’s meerkats move upstairs into an exhibit twice as large as their original display. The new exhibit replicates the animals’ native African-desert habitat and offers the meerkats many new opportunities for climbing, digging and exploring. Plus, three viewing “bubbles” will give guests the chance to pop up right among the meerkats.

Butterfly-Tail Goldfish

‘Think You Know Goldfish?’ The New Maritime Aquarium Exhibit May Surprise You

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Delve into the under-appreciated story of the goldfish in the special exhibit, “Think You Know Goldfish?” which just opened at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. — an announcement from The Maritime Aquarium

They most likely were your first pet. You could win them at carnivals. Mom flushed them when they died. And there was a college craze in the 1950s of swallowing them.

Bird American Robin

CT Audubon: You Can Go Back to Filling Your Bird Feeders and Birdbaths

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For those of you who have taken down your bird feeders this summer — a sincere thank you for caring about Connecticut’s birds. The good news: It’s okay to start feeding birds again. — an announcement from the Connecticut Audubon Society, in a version published in

But if you decide to do so, there are still a few precautions you should heed. State environmental officials said today that the number of dead birds being reported in Connecticut has dropped to about a quarter of what it had been in recent weeks. As a result, the Connecticut Audubon Society is joining the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in dropping its recommendation that people take in their backyard bird feeders and bird baths.

Mountain Lion Recently Reported Just North of Darien, and Not For the First Time

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Someone told New Canaan police that a mountain lion was spotted on Gerdes Road, just north of the Darien-New Canaan border, at about 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14. The big cat sighting is the third in the past month in New Canaan, and close to the previous one, Aug. 8, on White Oak Shade Lane. The sighting on Gerdes Road is the third in the past month and very close to the most recent one, on Aug.

Masked at Maritime Aquarium COVID-19

(Not Quite) at the Maritime Aquarium: a Virtual Pajama Party, 7 to 9 PM, Saturday

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Put on your favorite PJs on and join Aquarium staff online for a pajama party! See the stingrays, seals, and sharks after hours as we tour the galleries. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

Get a peek behind-the-scene of the open ocean shark tank and inside the fish kitchen. Meet a variety of intertidal animals during a touch tank demonstration. End the evening making a craft activity at home and listening to a bedtime story.

Friends of Animals: April is Prevent a Litter Month — Here’s a Solution That Works

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April marks Darien-based Friends of Animals’ annual “Prevent A Litter” campaign, which aims to convince pet owners to spay or neuter their pets since it is the best way to combat the single largest killer of cats and dogs — euthanasia of unwanted, homeless animals. And FoA’s low-cost certificate program makes litter prevention affordable. — an announcement from Friends of Animals
FoA’s nationwide spay/neuter program facilitates the surgeries of more than 25,000 dogs and cats annually through its network of approximately 850 veterinarians, and it is the non-profit leader for affordable spay/neuter efforts. FoA’s program has surpassed 2.8 million procedures, preventing countless births. “Our campaign’s goal is to first persuade people to adopt, not shop, which means visiting an animal shelter or rescue group first when they decide to expand their family.

Victor DeMasi, a lepidopterist

Online Talk by Butterfly Expert on His Pollinator Meadow and the Species That Visit It

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In a live webinar presented by New Canaan Library, Victor DeMasi, a lepidopterist (butterfly expert), will will discuss his pollinator meadow in Redding and talk about some of the rare and common species he has seen there in 40 years of stewardship. — an announcement from New Canaan Library

New Canaan Land Trust and New Canaan Library have jointly organized the live, online event, scheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 31. Registration is necessary to take part in the event. You can register here. DeMasi will talk about life histories of some of our species and how a butterfly garden promotes a diversity of pollinators.

Zulu dies P.D. Dog K-9

Zulu Passes Away at Age 13: First Darien Police K-9, Helped in Drug Cases, Arrests, Missing Persons

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It is with profound sadness that the Darien Police Department announces the passing of retired police K-9, “Zulu,” on Thursday, Aug. 27. — an announcement from Darien Police Department
K-9 Zulu’s health began to rapidly deteriorate over the last week and after significant medical consultation, his handler, Lt. Nicholas Aranzullo and his family made the extremely difficult but humane decision to end Zulu’s pain and suffering. Zulu was a jet-black German Shepherd who hailed from the Czech Republic and was approximately 13 years old upon his passing. K-9 Zulu was the first Darien Police K-9 in the history of the department.  Sworn in to service in July of 2009, Zulu had a decorated career which included commendations for narcotics investigations, criminal apprehensions, and tracking for lost or missing persons.

Darien Cops Website Coyote

Coyote Bites Woman in New Canaan Park: Walkers Warned To Be Wary in Waveny

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New Canaan Police are urging Waveny Park visitors to avoid trails and areas of tall grass Thursday after a coyote bit a woman taking a morning walk there with her dog. — an article from At about 6:30 a.m., a woman was bit in the backside by a coyote near the walled garden east of Waveny House, according to police. Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section, said it’s unclear at this point whether the coyote is sick or was exhibiting “escorting” behavior while denning. “If it’s a den situation, I’m not sure where it is,” Halm said.

American Black Bear ursus americanus

There’s a Bear in Tokeneke, But No Need for Alarm, Police Say

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There’s a young black bear in Tokeneke, although it “is not considered a threat to people or animals,” police say. Its presence does call for some care, however, according to a police announcement. The bear, weighing about 100 pounds, was seen Thursday. According to the Darien animal control officer, it’s a good idea for people living in or near Tokeneke, in the southeast part of town, to avoid attracting the beast by putting bird feeders and garbage cans in the garage or shed. There’s also no need to call police if you spot it “unless it has caused destruction of property or is presenting some type of safety hazard.”

Frog Maritime Aquarium Frog Watch 2020

‘Citizen-Scientists’ — Including Older Children — Wanted to Listen for Frogs

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The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk needs “citizen-scientist” volunteers for a ribbeting project that will reveal important details and trends about our local frog and toad populations. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

An army of trained volunteers is needed to collect local data for a national program called “FrogWatch USA.” The local effort is a collaboration between The Maritime Aquarium, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport and Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. Although it’s called “FrogWatch,” volunteers are asked to listen, not to watch, and to report what they hear. You don’t have to know anything about frogs and toads and their different calls to sign up. That will be taught during upcoming training sessions at each of the local institutions:

• Wednesday, March 4 at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

• Friday, March 6 at Yale University’s Class of 1954 Environmental Science Center

• Friday, March 13 at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Each training is from 7 to 9 p.m. You only need to attend one.

Harbor Seals Seal-Spotting and Birding Cruises

Maritime Aquarium Offers Winter Seal-Spotting, Birding Cruises

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You can cruise out onto Long Island Sound with the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk this winter in the hope of seeing some of the seals and birds that spend the colder months just off shore. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

The Maritime Aquarium’s 2020 season of Seal-Spotting & Birding Cruises offers outings on many Saturdays and Sundays now through April 12. Dates and departure times vary by low tide. The next cruises are on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. and on Sunday, Jan.

An image of a fawn deer (Odocoileus species) cropped down to put more focus on the fawn itself. This version: minor (levels) edit of orig pic by Elfer

Oh, Deer — They’re More Likely to Be in Your Headlights This Time of Year

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It’s autumn and deer collisions in Connecticut occur with wild abandon! That’s because love is in the air for our deer friends during deer mating season. An AAA Northeast crash data analysis has found 72% of deer crashes generally occur outside daylight hours, especially during the 5 to 7 p.m. commute. Based on statistics from the UCONN Crash Data Repository, 208 deer crashes occurred in Connecticut in November 2018 — the most of any month last year. That figure equates to one deer crash every four hours.


Darien Police: Leave Fawns Alone (For at Least 48 Hours) — They’re Often Not Really in Trouble

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The Darien Police Department and the Darien animal control officer have received a significant increase in calls regarding “abandoned fawns.” Here is information you should be aware of before contacting the police department:

— an announcement from Darien police

The only time a female (doe) will be found with a fawn is during feeding times. Fawns are fed three to four times a day, each feeding lasting only about 15 minutes. During the long periods left alone, newborn fawns instinctively freeze and will lay motionless when approached. According to CT DEEP, If you come across a fawn, it is best to leave it alone for at least 48 hours to determine whether the adult is returning for feedings. While waiting for the doe to return, it is important that both people and dogs stay away from the fawn.

Hatchling Turtle

Don’t Touch Wild Hatchling Turtles — and Other Wild Turtle Advice from the Maritime Aquarium

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The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is asking folks to be mindful of turtles on the move at this time of year, and only to interact with them if necessary. — an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

Barrett Christie, director of animal husbandry, said several recent well-meaning callers have “rescued” hatchling diamondback terrapins, a protected coastal species. One hatchling was even delivered to the Aquarium. “Often, upon being handled by humans or brought in to human care, turtles cannot be returned to their natural habitats,” Christie said. “We’re glad that people are concerned for the welfare of turtles as they find them, but it’s important to know what to do and what not to do.”

Listed in Connecticut as a “species of special concern,” diamondback terrapins are the state’s only turtle that spend their lives in the brackish waters of Long Island Sound’s tidal rivers and marshes.