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!
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
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