Believe it or not most visitors to the touch pool at the Denver Aquarium take me up on the offer and get a thrill out of their hug. Why do these sea urchins gently squeeze our finger between their spines when we give them a chance? I’d tell you, but I’m afraid that if I look it up I’ll find out that the “hug” is an unfriendly reflex of some kind, and that would spoil everything.
When our local paper asked for wacky, wonderful job stories, I had to share mine: “Can I squirt him in the eye?” I felt weird being so blunt with the brave little geek in braids, but having graduated from high school in the seventies, I knew I’d feel weirder negotiating with five teens over shark tagging tasks. So when the grad students got our shark situated under their bodies, I got to test his reflex, and his eye membrane nictated nicely which meant that he wasn’t too stressed. On the next round I clipped a bit of tissue off another […]