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Shedd Aquarium’s Porcupine Got A Field Trip, Too — And Got To Meet The Penguins

Tyson the porcupine IS SO CUTE.

Shedd Aquarium/Mike Pratt
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CHICAGO — The penguins aren’t the only ones touring the Shedd Aquarium.

The Shedd’s porcupine, Tyson, also got to explore the aquarium during a “field trip” this week. Tyson’s care team took him to see the penguins in the Polar Play Zone and shot a video showing him munching on a hard biscuit as penguins zoom by in the nearby water.

Tyson is “timid,” according to the Shedd, so he mostly focused on his biscuit and the staff, “with whom he has a very strong relationship.” He was curious about the penguins, though.

Tyson, who is 5 years old, is nocturnal and solitary, so he tends to stay behind the scenes.

“Giving him the opportunity to experience this space without the added stimuli of guests at first can be helpful in getting him comfortable exploring areas,” Shedd officials said.

The aquarium has been closed to the public and empty of guests in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Over the weekend, the Shedd’s animal care staff took some of the penguins for a field trip where they got to see fish.

The field trips are enrichment exercises that allow the animals to see new spaces they might otherwise never be able to without guests around.

Watch the video:


Coronavirus can be deadly, but the vast majority of cases have been mild. Those most at risk from the virus are people who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions.

Symptoms of coronavirus can appear two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. People with no symptoms may have the virus and spread it to others.

The virus spreads between people through coughing and sneezing, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The most common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

People have also experienced body aches, nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat, according to Harvard Medical School.

If you or someone else has difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, become confused, cannot be roused or develop a bluish face or lips, get immediate medical attention, according to the CDC.

How To Protect Yourself

The CDC only recommends those are already sick wear facemasks because they help you avoid spreading the virus.

Here’s what you can actually do to prevent getting ill:

  • The CDC and other officials have said people should wash their hands often, including before, during and after eating; after using the bathroom; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    The CDC has a guide here for how to properly wash your hands. Remember: Wash with soap and water, scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch frequently, like cellphones and light switches. Here are tips from the CDC.
  • Stay home when you’re sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you have to sneeze with a tissue, throw it out immediately after using it, according to the CDC.

What To Do If You Think You’re Sick

Even if you’re not showing symptoms, the Chicago Department of Public Health recommends people coming from high-risk countries (here’s a CDC list) self-quarantine for 14 days after returning home.

If you do have symptoms of coronavirus, contact your primary doctor or a health care facility before going in. Explain your symptoms and tell them if you’ve come into close contact with anyone with coronavirus or traveled to an area where corona is widespread (here’s a CDC list) within the last 14 days, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

From there, the experts will work with your local health department to determine what to do and if you need to be tested for coronavirus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

And, of course, if you think you’re sick with coronavirus, don’t risk exposing other people to the virus. Anyone who feels unwell has been advised to stay home.

Those with questions and concerns about coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 800-889-3931.

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