Sea Urchin Does its Best Santa Claus Imitation

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NORTH EAST, Pa. (Erie News Now) — You can find Christmas joy just about everywhere. For example, there’s a local veterinarian’s office where an underwater creature is making people smile with its impersonation of Santa Claus.

A sea urchin in the aquarium at Hometown Veterinary Hospital in North East is in the Christmas spirit. It’s wearing a little Santa’s hat that fits nicely atop its spiny body. It is amazing that a creature that’s usually kind of boring is providing some Christmas cheer.

“They don’t move a whole lot. He maybe goes a few inches to maybe halfway through the tank by the end of the night. Sometimes he’ll creep up the side or on the rock in the middle, but he kind of just stays where he’s at,’ says Jamie Piazza, Office Manager.

Sea urchins prefer to hide under something. Usually it’s some kind of shell. But, the staff at the veterinary hospital acquired some tiny hats made by a 3-D printer. The sea urchin now looks pretty classy while it’s hiding.

“I don’t know that the hats are a necessity for the tank,” says Jamie. “He’ll cover up with shells and things like that. But, the hats are just fun.”

The sea urchin’s name is Spike. He has many hats to choose from. He was presented a pumpkin hat to celebrate Halloween. He already has bunny ears to celebrate Easter and a leprechaun’s hat to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. He also has an orange traffic cone to wear.

“We have a Viking helmet. That’s the first one I think that he wore and seems to maybe be his favorite,” says Jamie.

Spike sometimes likes to wear more than one of his hats at the same time. Even though he doesn’t move around much, visitors to the veterinary hospital are entertained seeing this underwater creature wearing his happy headgear.

“Everyone comments on the hats,” says Jamie. “It’s really cute. So, it’s been good amongst the clients.”

One frequent client at the hospital likes the sea urchin hats so much, she is asking her husband to make Spike a Pittsburgh Steelers helmet to wear.

Even though sea urchins don’t have to worry about predators in an aquarium, they still like to hide under something. Experts say they are sensitive to the UV light inside the tank.


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