Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Saturday, 10 January 2009

Stock taking begins at aquarium

Children help the stocktake at the Blue Reef Aquarium
Children have been invited to take part in the stock take

Aquarium staff in East Sussex have started a count of their charges for an annual census.

The Blue Reef Aquarium in Hastings is carrying out their stock take of each species in the centre.

Visitors to the centre will have the opportunity to take part by counting certain animals including seahorses, sharks, octopus and lionfish.

The count will finish on 18 January, when staff will compare children's counts with the actual population.

A Blue Reef spokesperson said: "We thought it would be a good idea to involve the visitors in the whole process as well and turn it into a fun activity that everyone can take part in.

"Obviously some creatures will be rather more easy to count than others; the sharks are usually fairly straightforward, although there are a number of species that like to spend much of their time either hidden among the rocks or under the sand.

"Seahorses can be a little tricky and hermit crabs are always something of a guesstimate as it's difficult to tell which shells are inhabited and which are currently vacant."

The child who most accurately reports the population of each of the above animals will win a year's free membership to the aquarium for their family.

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