Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Pond Turtles

By Jessa Franck, keeper

A bird keeper discovered three newly hatched pond turtles (Clemmys marmorata) by the flamingo feeder last week. They were quickly scooped up and transported to the reptile house. Loyal readers may remember from the post "A Day in the Life… of a Reptile Keeper" that we collect pond turtle hatchlings on zoo grounds and give them a head start. This allows them to grow larger more quickly and thus be safer from predators like crows. The three turtles weighed in at 6.7 grams, 7.0 grams, and 6.7 grams. Their shells were marked temporarily so we can tell individuals apart. The turtles will be weighed and measured weekly to monitor growth. They are now on display in the reptile house next to the single hatchling found in October of 2006. Favorite foods so far are small mealworms and crickets. They should be ready for release in spring of 2009.