Lumpsucker Laughs

Laughs from Larry, the Spiny Lumpsucker

Who said learning isn’t fun! That is what we are all about at the Puget Sound Estuarium. This page is a collection of funny jokes related to estuary and marine environments that we think are worthy of internet publication. Live, laugh, but most of all, LOVE YOUR BEACH!

Warning: Some of these jokes may require advanced scientific knowledge…or a good internet search engine.

Q: Why did the bird get a ticket?
A: It broke the law of gravity!
No estuary is complete without sea birds! One commonly found seafaring avian here in the Puget Sound is the marbled murrelet. This cute small seabird can be found throughout the year feeding on small fish and crustaceans. Though previously little was known about the nesting habits of these birds, researchers have discovered that the marbled murrelet moves inland to old growth forests to make their nests, where they will lay a single egg.
Due to habitat threats, thriving populations of the marbled murrelet have become more and more sparse. The disappearance of old growth forests has presented itself as a leading cause of population decrease of the marbled murrelet. The timber industry is a valuable part of the economy of Washington State, so restoration efforts of this iconic sea bird will take sophisticated science and creative solutions. Click HERE to explore the Department of Natural Resources newly announced plan to protect the endangered marbled murrelet.

Q: What did the dancing salmon say to the DJ?
A: This baseline is slamon!

Salmon are making their way back through Budd Inlet! Late summer marks an Olympia tradition as Coho and Chinook salmon swim upstream to the Deschutes River to spawn.

Our community works hard to ensure as many of these returning salmon make the journey safely. Through the collaboration of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife andStream Team , a system to aid these travelers has been put in place at Tumwater Falls using a series of holding pens and fish ladders.

By collecting the eggs and milt of hatchery salmon in holding pens, the chances of successful reproduction increase. Using assisted reproduction and helping the remaining salmon pass upstream, is one way these organizations seek to protect these at risk fish.

Be sure to stop by the viewing bridges at Tumwater Falls, McLane Creek Nature Trail, and at the base of the 5th avenue bridge to see these amazing salmon in action August – October!

Click HERE for an awesome video of local harbor seals hunting the returning salmon under the 5th avenue bridge!

Q: What did the seal with the broken arm say to the shark?
A: Do not consume if seal is broken!

Despite such an intimidating tail, thresher sharks are relatively shy with small mouths and stocky bodies. A small jaw is no hindrance to the thresher shark though, as their uniquely adapted tails aid in catching prey. Using its tail, thresher sharks swat at prey in order to stun them momentarily before gobbling them up.

Thresher sharks are also avid travelers and can be spotted from New England to Ghana, and beyond! These sharks are pelagic and can be found in coastal and oceanic waters. A few lucky witnesses have seen thresher sharks playfully jumping out of the water, though this is very rare.

Q: How did the hammerhead do on his test?
A: He nailed it!

Spiny dogfish are one of the smallest species of shark, growing up to a maximum of 4.5 ft. Despite their small size, these sharks are aggressive and strategic predators, banning together in packs to catch prey two or three times its size. These tough little sharks also possess a pair of poisonous spikes near their dorsal fins, aiding in their protection against their predators such as orcas, other sharks, and seals. These sharks also hold a record for longest gestation period at nearly two years.

Spiny dogfish are also skilled travelers. One shark that was tagged here in Washington wandered 5,000 miles to the coast of Japan. The spiny dogfish is truly small but mighty!

Q: What did the seal study in school?
A: Art Art Art Art!

Harbor Seals are one of the most abundant marine mammals found in the Puget Sound. Often seen with their heads bobbing just above water, these creatures are shy, cunning, and highly curious. While they appear clumsy on land, flopping and bouncing about, these animals are efficient swimmers built for quick underwater hunting. Their bodies have a number of adaptations to withstand deep dives under pressure, such as a flexible ribs and collapsible lungs.

Harbor seals are also among many marine mammals that are prone to entanglement. If you spot a harbor seal in danger, be sure to report it to the appropriate entanglement teams HERE .

Q: How does a shellfish get to the hospital?
A: They call a clambulance!

Shellfish are a crucial part of the the ecology, culture, and economy of the Puget Sound, with a surprising history. Non-native species of clams and oysters make up a large portion of the Puget Sound’s aquaculture. In the early 1900’s, over harvesting native shellfish and pollution led to the introduction of more resilient oyster seed from the East coast and even Japan! Efforts have been underway to bring back our native oysters and contribute to Washington’s reputation of providing an amazing diversity of shellfish to consumers.

Q: What did the squid say when asked on a date?
A: I’ll ink about it!

The South Puget Sound is home to cute and crafty squids! The common squid, also known as the Opalescent Inshore Squid, is a peculiar mollusk that lives only 6 – 9 months. These critters are attracted to lights around docks and can be found gathering near pilings in the fall and winter. Their reliable annual reproduction makes them a low impact animal for commercial harvesting.

Q: What’s a fish’s favorite game?
A: Salmon says!

2019 marks 20 years since the Salmon Recovery Act was enacted and now is a time to reflect on our efforts. Despite hard dedication from local organizations, businesses, and individuals there’s still much work to be done in order to meet our goals. However, there are successes to celebrate too! A handful of salmon populations are approaching recovery goals giving the Puget Sound some much needed relief. Let’s hold on to that hope and push for even more recovery in the next two decades to come! To learn more about salmon recovery efforts in the Pacific Northwest be sure to read the State of Salmon’s Executive Summary

Q: What’s a sea otter’s favorite food?
A: A-balone sandwich!

For the pinto abalone, natural predators are the least of their problems. This iconic gastropod, known for its beautiful pearl like spiraled shell, faces a number of challenges in its survival. Identified as a “species of concern,” once blossoming pinto abalone populations have dwindled over the decades. Thanks to over harvesting and environmental crisis, such as ocean acidification, pinto abalone are scarce and unable to rebuild their species without human intervention. These now rare critters find themselves susceptible to poaching, being a delicacy in Asian markets and could ultimately face extinction.

Q: What’s a basking shark’s favorite type of music?
A: Plank-tunes

Encounters with basking sharks are rare, but not unheard of in Puget Sound! According to The Puget Sound wiki, “The basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus, is the second largest living shark, after the whale shark. It is a passive filter feeder, filtering zooplankton, small fish, and invertebrates from up to 2,000 short tons of water per hour.”

Q: What do you call a fish with a tie?
A: soFISHticated

In 2015, NOAA scientists identified 253 fish species observed in marine or brackish waters of the Salish Sea ecosystem. These 253 species encompass 1 myxinid, 2 petromyzontids, 18 chondrichthyans, 2 chondrosteans, and 230 teleosts. They are contained within 78 families and 31 orders.

Q: What do shark trees consist of?
A: Elasmobranches!

Elasmobranch is a subclass of cartilaginous fish, including sharks, rays, skates, and sawfish. The Puget Sound is home to 11 species of sharks. Of these 11, three that are seen regularly are the Spiny Dogfish, the Sixgill Shark, and the Brown Cat Shark.

Q: Why did the kelp crab cross the road?
A: To get to the other tide.

A kelp crab’s shell roughly resembles a five-pointed sheriff’s badge, is smooth, and is longer than it is wide. The “points” of the shell have forward-curving hooks. The northern kelp crab’s legs are long and end in sharp points, which it uses to cling to surfaces. The dorsal (back) color of this crab ranges from yellow-green to red, and the ventral (underside) color is red or yellow.

This species is commonly found in the intertidal zone on pilings and hidden within kelp beds, particularly bull kelp. Northern kelp crabs often use kelp beds for shelter from predators, such as sea otters, and they also use kelp as their food. We have had several kelp crabs in our tanks at the Estuarium. Our current kelp crab, “Lefty” is amazing as she grew back three of her limbs. Come down, and check her out!

Q: Why wouldn’t the ghost shrimp share his treasure?
A: Because he was a little shellfish!

Neotrypaea californiensis, is a local ghost shrimp, that lives and burrows in the muddy estuaries of the Puget Sound. Their diet consists of plankton and detritus, and they can live up to 20 years. Ghost shrimp burrows – up to 100 more per meter – can soften the ground, resulting in oysters sinking into the mud and dying! That’s super spooky!

Q: Why did the tide pool join a gym?
A: Because it wanted bigger mussels!

Mussels are a type of mollusc known as a bivalve. They are related to clams, oysters, geoducks, and other bivalves, as well as snails, octopuses, and chitons. Mussel colonies are major features in protected marine waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Q: What do you call a diatom that wags its tail and fetches your slippers?
A: Fido-plankton!

Diatoms are a super-important group of phytoplankton (microscopic plants and algae) which are responsible for creating a large portion of the Earth’s oxygen. Pet waste from dogs and cats are very harmful to diatoms, so remember to always pick up and dispose of your Fido’s waste in the trash!

Q: What is in the middle of a Jellyfish?
A: A jelly button!

Jellyfish species are classified in the subphylum Medusozoa which makes up a major part of the phylum Cnidaria, although not all Medusozoa species are considered to be jellyfish.

Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. Scyphozoans (the “true jellyfish”) are exclusively marine, but some hydrozoans live in freshwater. Large, often colorful, jellyfish are common in coastal zones worldwide. Jellyfish have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years, and possibly 700 million years or more, making them the oldest multi-organ animal.

Q: What did the zoologist say when asked him why he named his newt “Tiny”?
A: “Because he’s my newt!”

Reaching only 5 – 8.5 inches, rough skinned newts are cute and fearsome
critters. These lovable creatures pack an unlikely punch to predators with
toxic secretion through their skin called, tetrodotoxin, leaving those who eat it paralyzed or worse. Because of this adaptation, humans can experience skin irritation from rough skinned newts and can die if ingested!

However, not all are susceptible to the toxins of rough skinned newts. A
few rare species, such as the common garter snake, happily prey on rough
skinned newts without a scratch.

Q: Why did the acid and base go to the gym?
A: To become a buffer solution!

Ocean Acidification is the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth’s oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the atmosphere.

Acidic water makes it difficult for plankton and marine organisms to make their shells. Some shellfish growers had to add a basic buffer solution to Puget Sound water in order to grow oysters many people love to eat. Washington State is the largest producer of hatchery-reared and farmed shellfish in the U.S, with more than 300 farms accounting for 25% of the total domestic production by weight and an annual farmgate value exceeding $108 million.

Q: Why was the ocean so salty?
A: Because the land didn’t wave back!

As we inch closer to the winter solstice something amazing is happening on our planet. At this point in our travel around the sun earth nears its maximum tilt away from its favorite star. This not only means shorter, darker days, but our highest tides of the year!

Submit your own joke by emailing us!