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      Alligators, turtles up for adoption at Flint RiverQuarium

      Alligators are up for adoption!

      A variety of fish, reptiles and birds are available through the Flint RiverQuarium's Aquadopt program.

      It's designed specifically to give members of the community the opportunity to feed and take care of our animals, says Vicki Churchman with Member and Volunteer Services.

      The Flint RiverQuarium has 1,200 animals. Caretakers say they eat a lot and it gets expensive. You can help feed their animals by adopting one of them through Aquadopt .

      The adoption program has been around since the opening of the RiverQuarium according to Churchman. This year it went through some changes: Those who adopt animals will receive a personalized 4x4 tile on a wall in the Flint RiverQuarium.

      We just felt it was time to revamp it and be able to give those who wanted to support the RiverQuarium a tangible expression of their support so they can come up here and say, 'That's my tile, TM says Churchman.

      Adoptions cost $25 and the money goes right to one thing: Ordering the food for the fish.

      We order frozen salmon, bonita and we cut that up into smaller chunks. Smelt which is a smaller fish, we feed that out whole sometimes, we chop it up, krill, pea krill, says General Curator Richard Brown.

      This year the RiverQuarium has already spent $15,000 on feeding the animals. They still have six months left in their year, which means another $15,000 could still be spent.

      Special food is ordered because of the special nutrition needs of the fish, reptiles and birds.

      They need live food sometimes. Sometimes it's crucial requirements, for the seahorse for instance, they need live palaemonid shrimp, says Brown.

      Churchman says donations are a vital part to the RiverQuarium TMs existence.

      It TMs very important to have the RiverQuarium here and have it continue and this is one way to help cont the RiverQuarium and keep the animals fed, says Churchman.

      You have the option to adopt a fish, bird, alligator, snake, frog or turtle.

      The wall featuring the Aquadopt custom tiles will be unveiled on Feb. 12.