Critter Cove

Barred Owls

The presence of owls in a forest is a good sign that the forest has matured and is able to provide a home for enough small animals to support large birds of prey. Barred owls inhabit forests of both deciduous and coniferous trees, spending their days roosting quietly in treetops and becoming active at dusk to hunt food. Barred Owls are nonmigratory and tend to stick around in the same patch of forest year-round.

In order to find a mate, Barred Owls will engage in courtships songs, which are different from their normal calls. Potential mates will often call in harmony or as a duet. Once a male woos his love interest and she accept him, the pair will mate for life. Breeding occurs between March and August, and females will lay a clutch of 2-4 eggs.

Barred Owls will prey on most small animals, like squirrels, mice, birds, rats, chipmunks, large insects, and reptiles, but how do they hunt in total darkness? The key to their success is their hearing. Apart from having excellent hearing, many owls, including Barred Owls have asymmetrical ear placement, meaning one ear is slightly offset from the other ear on their head. When the sound of a squeaking mouse reaches their head, the time it takes that sound to reach one ear versus the other will give the owl a precise location of the sound in a 3-dimensional space, and thus, the prey. This is known as sound localization. In fact, their hearing is so good and their sound localization is so refined that they are able to target a rodent digging under the snow with pinpoint accuracy.

White-Nosed Coati

White-Nosed Coati live in a variety of habitats from tropical lowlands to drier mountains forests in North, Central and South America. Females travel in groups, called bands, which can number anywhere from 4 to 40 individuals, while males 2 years and up travel alone.

Coati are omnivores with a diverse diet, consisting of insects, spiders, lizards and other small animals, as well as fruits, nuts, plants and carrion. They use their long snout to sniff out critters underground, and then use their sharp claws to dig them out.and up travel alone.

Coati mating season begins early in the year. During this time, solitary males will start to join female bands. These males will fend off rivals  and mate with several females. As mating  season ends, males are forced out of the band  and mated females will leave to have their  litters about 77 days later. Moms and pups  return to the band about 5-6 weeks after birth.

Unlike the other three species of coati, White-Nosed Coati populations are apparently stable, though lack of field data may drastically underestimate their numbers. Deforestation, habitat loss, and introduced predators, such as cats and boa constrictors, all pose threats to their continual health. The Eastern and Western Mountain Coati species are either endangered or threatened.



Seal Encounter

Seal Encounters run from April through September

Seal it with a kiss!

As of May 19, vaccinated guests may visit without a mask. All unvaccinated guests must continue to wear a mask. If you are purchasing an Animal Encounter or Adventure, you must show proof of vaccine or must wear a mask during the encounter/adventure.

Seal it with a kiss

Be a Trainer for our Seal Encounter Session!

Our Harbor Seals and Gray Seal are the pride of the Aquarium. Now you can go with our animal caregiver and help with a seal feeding session!

  • Visit the food prep area and help prepare their meal – you’ll learn about the sustainable seafood diet for all of our animals and how you can make similar sustainable seafood choices.
  • Visit the seal habitat and talk with the team about the husbandry behaviors they teach our animals and why.
  • Learn how trainers communicate with our flippered friends.
  • Interact with a seal and even get a kiss!
  • The experience will be captured by our photographer.
  • Purchase the series of photos (details to come).

When working with animals, they call the shots.  Each encounter is unique and may contain different elements.

Day/Times:  Thursdays at 1:30pm
Session = 1.5hr (approx.)

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Price: $150* / (Aquarium Members: $135)*

Ask about our Photo Option!

>> Click to Download the Waiver<<

Pinniped Encounter Rules

  • SEAL ENCOUNTER: Guests must have the ability to go up and down steps and uneven surfaces. Unfortunately, guests in wheelchairs cannot be accommodated.
  • SEA LION ENCOUNTER: Guests in wheelchairs can be accommodated, please notify staff at the time of reservation.
  • To ensure the safety of our animals, personal cameras (including those in cell phones or other electronic devices) cannot be used during your animal program.
  • No refunds will be issued for cancellations made less than 24-hours prior to the reserved program. Payment is required at the time of booking.
  • No refunds will be issued for guests that do not meet the program requirements for age, physical fitness, or who violate company policies.
  • We go rain or shine! No refunds for bad weather unless Long Island Aquarium cancels the excursion.
  • Long Island Aquarium reserves the right to refuse service to any guest under the influence of alcohol or any illegal drugs.
  • Participants must be able to understand basic instructions in English in order to safely participate.
  • Long Island Aquarium reserves the right, under certain circumstances, to omit specific behaviors or interactions from the program.
  • Participants must not have contact with any wild marine mammal within 48 hours of participation to avoid disease transmission to our animals.
  • No flip flops, open back, open toe, or high heeled shoes. Sneakers are recommended. Please be advised that feet may get wet.
  • Participants should be willing to participate in the program and be comfortable with interacting with a live animal.
  • Follow directions at all times.
  • No chewing gum.
  • Do not enter animal areas until instructed.
  • No food or drink in animal areas.
  • Do not feed the sea lions until instructed.
  • No sunglasses or other eyewear unless prescription for vision correction.
  • Watch footing. The beach may have an irregular surface and may be slippery.
  • Disinfect hands, as instructed, prior to the program.
  • No strollers will be permitted in the encounter
  • Do not touch the animal until instructed.
  • Be very careful around the sea lions eyes, ears, and mouth.
  • No sudden movements or yelling.
  • Exit the program area when instructed to do so.

*Must be 10 years or older and reserved 24 hours in advance. All participants must complete waiver prior to adventure. Aquarium admission is not included and is required for the adventure!

Moray Eels

Moray Eels are a type of fish with dorsal and anal fins fused to the caudal fin, forming a single ribbon along the length of the fish.  There are over 800 known species of eels and more than 100 species of moray eel, including zebra morays (Gymnomuraena zebra), snowflake morays (Echidna nebulosa), and tessalata morays (Gymnothorax favagineus). Moray eels are not the vicious, deadly animals that many think they are. Most would rather hide in their burrows than attack a human and there is little evidence that they are venomous. Their body is actually brown but appear green due to a yellow mucus that covers their whole body!

Otter Falls

Otter Falls is home to two North American river otters (Lontra canadensis), one adult female, Jelly, and her son, Stark, born on February 16, 2013.

Jelly and Stark are highly active and curious North American river otters. They are tons of fun to watch! These playful creatures will chase each other, jump, wrestle, slide on their bellies on snow and ice, and spend lots of time grooming.

Occurring throughout North America, river otters can be found in rivers, lakes, freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, and estuaries. Unfortunately, they are rarely found on Long Island. They are predators, feeding on a variety of fish, amphibians, turtles, and crayfish. Their activity is based on the time of the year, as they can be nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular.

Jelly and Stark’s habitat, Otter Falls, is about 1,500 square feet with a nine foot waterfall that cascades into the otters’ pool.  It emulates a temperate riverbank, complete with a 35 square foot interactive Beaver Den that provides guests with a three-foot underwater view into the pool and a viewing window into Jelly’s Day Den!

North American River Otter
Scientific Name: Lontra canadensis
Weight: 10-35 pounds.
Length: 3-5 feet.
Lifespan: 10-20 years.
Range: Throughout Canada and the United States.
Habitat: temperate freshwater river and lakes.

Lost Temple of Atlantis

The Lost Temple of Atlantis dazzles through the grandeur of its architecture and the majesty of its guardians’ four Japanese snow monkeys: (Macaca fuscata).

Japanese macaques are the world’s northernmost species of nonhuman primate! They inhabit the lowland and mountain forests of Japan, and can survive both snow and freezing temperatures. They love to spend time in natural hot springs and enjoy playing in the snow, as well.

These primates are active during the day and are omnivorous, feeding on a diverse diet of fruits, seeds, leaves, vegetables, fungi, insects, and soil.

Japanese Macaques
Scientific Name: Macaca fuscata
Weight: up to about 30 pounds.
Height: Sitting height up to about 30 inches.
Lifespan: as many as 30 years.
Range: Japan
Habitat: diverse temperate evergreen and deciduous forest, subtropical forests, and subarctic forests