Blue Hole Spring

The highlight of the Flint RiverQuarium is the amazing 175,000-gallon 22-foot deep RiverQuarium Blue Hole Spring, showcasing Southwest Georgia's unique underwater world. Explore it from the surface to the depths through a panorama of discovery points. See more than 120 kinds of fish, turtles, alligators, snapping turtles and other creatures that make the RiverQuarium Blue Hole their home.

 

Gulf Sturgeon

Gulf sturgeon, also known as the Gulf of Mexico sturgeon, is "anadromous" fish, inhabiting coastal rivers from Louisiana to Florida during the warmer months, and the Gulf of Mexico and its estuaries and bays in the cooler months.  Adults range from 4-8 feet (1-2.5 m) in length; females attain larger sizes than males. They can live for about 60 years; usually 20-25 years. Gulf sturgeon are bottom feeders, and eat primarily macro invertebrates, including brachiopods, mollusks, worms, and crustaceans. All foraging occurs in brackish or marine waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

 
   

Blue Catfish

Blue Catfish are fresh water fish that are distributed primarily in the Mississippi River. They are one of the largest species of North American catfish reaching a length of 65 inches and a weight of 150 lbs.  The Blue Catfish will eat any species of fish they can catch, along with crayfish, mussels and frogs. Catching their prey becomes all the easier if it is already wounded or dead. They usually take advantage of ready accessible food.

 
   

Flathead Catfish

The flathead catfish, also known as the motley, yellow cat, Opelousas, bashaw or shovelhead cat, is a species of North American freshwater catfish. The flathead can be found from the lower Great Lakes region to northeastern Mexico.  Flatheads can grow up to 61 inches long and may weigh as much as 120 pounds. They are carnivores or benthic feeders, preferring live prey and feed primarily on other fish, insects, worms and crustaceans.

 
   

Striped Bass

The Striped Bass has a streamlined, silvery body marked with longitudinal dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail. They have a maximum size of 6.6 feet and a maximum recorded weight of 125 pounds. Common mature size is 3.9 feet. The Striped Bass is believed to live for up to 30 years. Striped Bass are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America. They are anadromous fish that migrate between fresh and salt water.  The Striped Bass is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. It is the state saltwater fish of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Hampshire.

 
   

Channel Catfish

The Channel catfish typically grows to 5 to 10 pounds but can reach a weight of 58 pounds. These fish are native to North America where they live in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. They feed on small crustaceans, fish, clams and snails. They also will feed on aquatic insects and small mammals.  The Channel catfish is North America's most populous catfish species and is highly fished for its meat. It is most active in the evening. These fish have a very strong sense of smell and taste. They have odor-sensing organs on their nostrils, taste buds located all over their bodies and four pairs of barbels that allow for stronger taste buds.

 
   

Bowfin

Also called cypress bass or black fish, the Bowfin prefers still waters, in vegetated swamps, lakes, ponds and ditches. This aggressive nocturnal carnivore prefers a diet of flat thin-bodied fish and crayfish. But they can crush a turtle with their powerful jaws.  The fish in this family dates back to the Jurassic Period. The males will fan out an area with their fins down to the bare ground for nesting purposes. Males and females will take care of the young. They can live in waters where there is little oxygen and can come up to gulp oxygen from the atmosphere.

 
   

Spotted Sucker

The Spotted Suckers are widely found throughout the central and southeastern United States and southern Canada. They inhabit deep pools of small to medium rivers and creeks over clay, sand and gravel. They get their name from 8 to 12 parallel rows of dark spots at the scale bases on the back and sides. This fish has thin lips and a horizontal mouth and can reach a length of about 19 inches.

 
   

Grass Carp

Grass Carp, also known as the white amur, is native to eastern Asia with a range from northern Vietnam to the Amur River on the Siberia-China border. It was introduced into Europe and the United States for aquatic weed control.  Grass Carp have long, chubby, torpedo-shaped bodies that are dark olive that shade to brownish-yellow, with a white belly and large, slightly outlined scales. It grows rapidly with adults reaching 4 feet in length and weighing 40 lbs. Grass Carp live an average of 5 to 9 years. They eat up to three times their own body weight daily in freshwater vegetation.

 
   

Sunfish

Sunfish are small; usually around five to eleven inches, spiny-finned game fish belonging to the same family as the largemouth and smallmouth bass. Sunfish are popular game fish. They are laterally flat, but dorsoventrally round. These are colorful and interesting little fish and are fun to catch, especially for beginning fisherman.  Sunfish have sharp spines on their pelvic fins, dorsal fins, and anal fins, so be careful when handling them!

 
   

Longnose Gar

Longnose Gar can reach up to 6 feet in length and young feed on plankton, as adults eat shad, silversides, other fish, snakes, etc... They have a lifespan of 30 years. They are found in warm, shallow bodies of water such as rivers and lakes. This fish can be found in the eastern half of the United States, north into Canada and as far south as Mexico.  Longnose Gar are predatory and have many tiny razor sharp teeth that can be seen if you can get close enough to one. It is a game fish even though people consider it a trash fish and normally don't eat them. The long nose supports over 100 tiny needle-sharp teeth.

 
   

Spotted Gar

The Spotted Gar is a freshwater fish native to North America. They are usually found in clear shallow water in creeks, rivers and lakes. They have a profusion of dark spots on the body. They are long with an elongated mouth with many teeth used to eat other fish and crustaceans, as well as insect larvae and algae. They grow 2-3 feet in length and weigh 4-6 pounds on average.  Gars spawn in shallow water with lots of vegetation during April and May. The female is usually larger and live longer than the males. Females lay on an average of 13,000 eggs up to about 20,000 eggs. It usually takes 10 to 14 days for the eggs to hatch. The male's average lifespan is 8 years while the female's is 10 years with a maximum lifespan of 18 years.

 
   

Large Mouth Bass

Largemouth bass grow 4 to 6 inches during their first year, 8 to 12 inches in two years, 16 inches in three years. They are usually green with dark blotches that form a horizontal stripe along the middle of the fish on either side. The underside ranges in color from light green to almost white. They have a nearly divided dorsal fin with the anterior portion containing nine spines and the posterior portion containing 12 to 13 soft rays. Their upper jaw reaches far beyond the rear margin of the eye. Adult largemouth bass are the top predators in the aquatic ecosystem.

 
   

Florida Soft Shell Turtle

The Florida Softshell Turtle is native to the southeastern United States, found primarily in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. It is the largest softshell turtle in North America and it is one of the fastest turtles to move on land and in the water. They prefer water to land and can be seen in ponds, streams, rivers, lakes and swamps.  The Florida Softshell Turtle has a leathery carapace (shell) that is usually dark brown to olive green with a white or cream colored underside. They can grow to be quite large, ranging from 6 to 30 inches in length and can weigh up to 45 pounds. In captivity, the Florida Softshell Turtle has been known to live up to 30 years; in the wild their lifespan is shorter.

 
   

Redeared Slider

The Redeared Slider is the most popular pet turtle in the United States and is also popular in the rest of the world. It is native only to the southern United States, but has become established in other places because of pet releases. The Redeared Slider is considered an invasive species in many areas, including the Flint River basin. They get their name from the distinctive red patch of skin around their ears. The slider part of their name comes from their ability to slide off rocks and logs into the water quickly. Redeared Sliders are almost entirely aquatic. However, they do leave the water to bask in the sun and lay eggs. These reptiles are deceptively fast and are decent swimmers. They are omnivorous, eating live prey as well as vegetation.

 
   

Eastern River Cooter

The River Cooter is a freshwater turtle native to the central and eastern United States. They are normally found in rivers with moderate currents, as well as lakes and tidal marshes. River Cooters enjoy basking on logs or sun warmed rocks. The term Cooter is believed to have come from an African word 'kuta' which means turtle in the Bambara and Malinke language.  The River Cooter is omnivorous and will eat practically anything; plant or animal, whether it is dead or alive. Their diet seems to be determined by the available food items. The River Cooter cannot swallow out of water. It will leave the water to retrieve a bug or worm and then return to the water to swallow. They are also known to enthusiastically chase, kill and eat small fish.

 
   

Yellow Bellied Slider

Yellow Bellied Sliders are land and water turtles. It can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including slow-moving rivers, floodplain swamps, marshes, seasonal wetlands, and permanent ponds. The yellow bellied sliders are popular as pets. Males can reach up to 5-9 inches while the female can reach 8-13 inches. It feeds mainly in the morning and frequently basks on shore, on logs, or while floating, during the rest of the day. At night, it sleeps lying on the bottom or resting on the surface near brush piles, but in all cases it prefers to stay in the water. In the wild its life span is 30 years, but in captivity its life span can reach 40 years.

 
   

Common Snapper

The Common Snapping Turtle is a freshwater turtle that can be found in areas from southeastern Canada, to the southwest edge of the Rocky Mountains, in Nova Scotia to the east, south into Florida and into northeastern Mexico. The Common Snapping Turtle is one of two of the species found in North America.  Common Snapping Turtles have ridged carapaces (upper shell) which at maturity can measure up to 20 inches in length. They are known for their powerful jaws, and mobile heads and necks which resemble a snake (the word serpentina means "snake-like"). Their weight can average from 10 to 35 pounds. The heaviest wild Common Snapping Turtle caught weighed 75 pounds.

 
   

Florida Cooter

The Coastal Plain or Florida Cooter is a large freshwater turtle found in lakes, sloughs, ponds, slow-flowing streams and other still bodies of water with soft bottoms and lots of aquatic vegetation. Cooters can be found from Virginia south to Florida and west to the vicinity of Mobile Bay, Alabama. They are active year-round, spending most of the day basking on logs in the sunlight.  A typical, mature Cooter's carapace (hard shell) can range from 9 to 13 inches. Normal weight for a mature Cooter is 5.5 to almost 8 lbs. They are herbivorous, feasting on vegetation in and near the body of water they call home.