Sunday, October 4, 2009

CHANGING OF THE GUARD


Michelle asked me to add this to her wonderful meme at Rambling Woods - check it out.

At the end of last week we took this years batch of Blanding's turtles out to their outdoor pens to begin acclimatising them before they get released next month. For more information on our Blanding's restoration project check out my previous posts.
Here is our precious load, safely strapped into the back of Jamie's car.


These five, two year old turtles will spend a month in an outdoor pen before we finally release them into the wild. Before release they will have blood samples taken for genetic records for the project and they will be sexed.


While we were delivering our turtles we got to meet this years hatchlings. It has been a bumper year and there are over two hundred and sixty healthy hatchlings.


We were soon roped in to help feed all these tiny, hungry little mouths. The smallest ones are put into separate little spaces to guarantee that they do get some food. (Notice the one by Jamie's left thumb is particularly keen to get his grub!)


The bigger babies are divided into groups of ten and fed together in one container. We have to keep a delicate balance between making sure that each turtle gets enough to eat and ensuring that they have a strong instinct to compete for food.


I don't think these two little guys have got any problems in that department!


We also collected our new batch of turtles to bring home to the museum. Usually we are given one year old turtles but because there are so many hatchlings this year we were asked if we would take some of the new hatchlings instead. This is quite a responsibility because these chaps are tiny and their propensity to get stuck in little spaces is high. (case in point!)


I asked Jamie to put her finger in the picture just to give you an idea of the size of a three week old turtle.


So we came home with number 3, 113, 136, 181, 234 and 235. Of course number 234 became an immediate favorite because it has a lop-sided shell.


So each turtle was carefully introduced to their new habitat


Which probably seemed rather big and scary to begin with


Slowly the exploration of their surroundings begins


And then the wonderful discovery of water!


Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Look Mom I can swim!


Soon they all settled in and each found a little spot to hang out




I have to say this is definitely one of the most satisfying projects that I am involved in at work. And, OK, I'll own up! The 'cute factor' with these guys is very high :)


Photo Credits - CJT

12 comments:

Rambling Woods said...

Please add this to Nature Notes..I love watching this project. I always think of Harrison... Michelle

Rambling Woods said...

Oh thank you for adding this to Nature Notes..it is so important to know about these projects. All the time and energy that goes into these little guys and then one day,you have to let them go. It's kind of like sending your one off to college... Michelle

ROSIDAH said...

Great post. You did a wonderful job with the turtles!

Becky said...

Oh my WORD! They are too cute. I want to scoop them all up into a turtley group hug. How do you stand being the same room with them... I would be baby talking all day lol

Becky said...

Oh, and if 234 turns out to be a girl i vote for naming her Ilean

Arija said...

Thank goodness I am more or less back again.

What a wonderful post. It is so rewarding looking after babies, no matter whose they are. Watching theur development beats TV any day.

moosh said...

What a great project. Thank you for sharing with us.

Squirrel said...

Great post. What a wonderful project you're participating in.

dsmcaron said...

What a fabulous project! You are very lucky to work with it.

MyMaracas said...

Man those are cute. This is a great project, and I'm so glad you posted it to Nature Notes to tell us about it.

Kathiesbirds said...

So much fun! You are a turtle mom! I hope your brood does well and that all live long and happy turtle lives! So cute!

There once was a woman who lived in the zoo,
she had so many turtles she didn't know what to do,
so she fed them all quickly and showed them the pond
where they slid down the bank and soon they were gone! ~Kathiesbirds

gtyyup said...

Aren't those lil' guys cute! And so tiny! They knew exactly what to do with the water didn't they?!? Mother Nature~~