Turtle & Tortoise

Young Turtles, the Size of a Dinner Plate

On July 1st the Monterey Bay Aquarium placed five lively juvenile green sea turtles on exhibit as part of its “Hot Pink Flamingos: Stories of Hope in a Changing Sea” special exhibition. The young sea turtles are just under 9 months old and each is about the size of a dinner plate. The sea turtles are featured in a gallery that shows how rising temperatures could alter the gender of an incubating clutch of sea turtle eggs, or how rising sea levels threaten sea turtles’ nesting beaches.

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Green sea turtle monterey bay aquarium 2 rsPhoto credits: ©Monterey Bay Aquarium / Randy Wilder 

Senior Aquarist Veronica Franklin brought 10 young sea turtles to the aquarium on June 24 from SeaWorld San Diego, where they were among 82 hatchlings born October 5 to resident sea turtles in the park’s “Shipwreck Beach.” The sea turtles’ gender will remain a mystery until they mature a little more. 

The young sea turtles at the aquarium will rotate between the exhibit and behind-the-scenes holding pools. The two larger turtles they replaced, as well as some of the smaller turtles, will be part of the aquarium’s remodeled “Open Sea” galleries that open in July 2011.

There’s more information online about their background, and how Franklin and her staff care for the turtles, at www.montereybayaquarium.org/exhibitupdates.


Extremely Rare Batagur Turtles

Long considered a "royal delicacy" in Cambodia, the Batagur turtle has been hunted to near extinction throughout Southeast Asia. Today the turtle is critically endangered and it is unclear where wild Batagurs still live. With the hatching of two baby Batagurs at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo last week, the total number of this rare species in captivity climbs to 20. To breed the rare turtles, a father and son team of herpetology experts, Peter and Reinger Praschag, were brought in to recreate just the right natural environment for egg laying.

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Photo credits and copyright: Photos 1 and 2 - Daniel Zupanc. Picture 3: Zoo Vienna / Norbert Potensky


Tiny Snake-Necked Turtle Hatchling at National Zoo

A snake-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) hatched at the National Zoo's Reptile Discovery Center in late March. The hatchling is not yet on exhibit because staff would not be able to monitor it. This is the first such hatching at the Zoo in three years.

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Photo Credits: Mehgan Murphy / National Zoo

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Yellow Footed Tortoises Hatch in Florida

Throughout February and March, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park welcomed a small army of new yellow footed tortoise hatchlings. Also known as the Brazilian giant tortoise, these reptiles live in pockets throughout much of South America but are vulnerable to extinction. As adults, these tortoises make a raspy cooing sound. We here at ZooBorns would love to hear a tortoise talk!

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Baby yellow-foot tortoise st. augustine alligator farm 3A salad fit for a giant tortoise!

Baby yellow-foot tortoise st. augustine alligator farm 4Humans need more meals they can literally climb into!

Photo credits: Kristy Staudenmaier, Reptile Keeper


Rare Baby Albino Snapping Turtles

North Dakota's Red River Zoo got a rare surprise last week when an anonymous donor dropped off two albino Common Snapping Turtles. Albinism is caused by a lack of melanin pigment and albino Snapping Turtles account for only one in every 30,000. In the wild, albino turtles rarely live to adulthood as their distinct coloring makes them stand out to predators as tasty snacks.  

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Photo credits: Red River Zoo

If you find yourself in or around Fargo, ND, you can visit the hatchlings Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4PM (weather permitting) throughout the winter.

Tiny Turtles Return Home

The endangered Western Pond Turtle faces threats from habitat degradation and disease, but the biggest threat to these little turtles are invasive bullfrogs that have thrived in the Columbia River Gorge between Oregon and Washington. These huge frogs gobble up tiny turtle hatchlings like Whitman's Samplers. By breeding Western Pond Turtles and raising them until they are large enough to be off the bullfrog's menu, the Oregon Zoo is helping to rebuild the turtle population.

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Preparing to storm the shores of the Columbia River Gorge

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Bon voyage!

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Home sweet home

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Photo credits: Brock Parker / Oregon Zoo

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82 Tiny Baby Sea Turtles Make Lots of Little Waves

Early this month, Sea World San Diego announced the hatching of 82 Baby Sea Turtles on the park's Shipwreck Beach. The hatchlings, born without human aid or incubation, are developing well and park officials are pleased with the progress. The babies eat a varied diet of squid, krill, shrimp, and special pellets. Adult Sea Turtles live to be well over 100 years old!

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Meet a Yellow-Spotted Amazon River Turtle

Yellow-Spotted Amazon River Turtles grow to be one of South America's largest, up to 18 lbs and over a foot across, but start their lives only a bit larger than a quarter. Unfortunately for these endangered turtles, they are considered a popular delicacy in and around the Amazon River Basin. The Buffalo Zoo hatched these babies in October where they will soon be on display, and of course, off the menu. 

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Little Loggerheads Weather the Storm at Sea World

Rough seas caused by Hurricane Bill prevented this tiny week-old trio baby Loggerhead Sea Turtles from safely trekking to the ocean from their nest. Lucky for them, park rangers in Cape Canaveral, Florida scooped them up and sent them to Sea World Orlando's Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Team for a few days of pampering until the seas calm down. Weighing around an ounce at birth, adult Loggerheads reach up to 800lbs!  

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Loggerheads are threatened by crab and shrimp boats as well as human obstacles that impede their journey from their nest on the beach to the shoreline. Artificial lighting, noise and beach activity can confuse causing them to head away from the ocean and toward parking lots and city streets. Learn more about sea turtles in general on Sea World's info page or about Loggerheads specifically, including how to help, at Oceana.