|Oh hi there...|
Named for the naturalist who discovered them in the 1800’s, Blanding’s turtles can be found in wetland areas, like ponds and marshes, from Massachusetts through the Great Lakes. Even though they have a big range, they face some tough challenges and their numbers have dropped over the past several decades. There are now only pockets of them left, including some in Massachusetts.
challenge for Blanding’s turtles? It’s something we use every day…roads!
|Range of Blanding's Turtles (www.blandingsturtle.org)|
|Blanding's Turtle in its wetland habitat (www.blandingsturtle.org)|
|Trying to cross the road (Dav Kaufman)|
|Turtle crossing sign in Maine (Maine DIFW)|
If these turtles are threatened in Massachusetts, then why do we keep two here at the Aquarium? One of our turtles, Skip, was found by a family who decided to bring him home as a pet. Not a good idea! It’s illegal to remove a threatened or endangered species from the wild, so state wildlife officials confiscated the turtle and brought him here.
Skip can't return to the wild for a couple of reasons. First,
we don't know what population he came from, and second he may have been exposed to
diseases that he could transmit to native populations. As there were concerns
about his ability to survive in the wild, the decision was made to give him a
forever home on Central Wharf!
all of our other turtles, are well taken care of by Aquarium staff, with lots
of space to swim and gourmet meals of worms, fruits, veggies, crickets and more.
He is visited by our Marine Mammal trainers, who work with him during enrichment
sessions to keep his mind sharp and feed him a snack (check out the video). Skip even gets “shell-icures”, having
his shell scrubbed with a toothbrush. And in return for his prime accommodations,
Skip is an ambassador for his wild Blanding’s turtle counterparts, showcasing
how we can all help turtles, even it’s helping them to cross the road.
|Good thing to remember (www.ma.gov)|
|Skip gets ready for a meal|