Kerry McNally is a biologist in the Animal Health department. She blogged extensively when she was with the Rescue department. Today she takes us behind the scenes to show how the resident yellow-spotted river turtles get their annual check-ups.
Did you know we have many species of turtles that live in the aquarium? Not only do we have our resident sea turtles including Myrtle the green turtle, but we also have several brackish water and freshwater species such as the diamondback terrapin that you can find in the Mangrove Exhibit or the Amazon river turtles in the anaconda exhibit. Like our sea turtles, these animals get annual physicals just like humans every year.
|Yellow-spotted river turtle | Photo: Christine A. via Flickr|
Recently, our Amazon yellow-spotted turtles came out of the Amazon Flooded Forest Exhibit for their exams by veterinarian Julie.
|Turtle in its tank before the exam|
The exam by our veterinarian is what you would expect at your own doctor. The turtles need a check-up just like us! First step is to get a weight on the turtle.
|Peru, our 25 year old female, gets her weight taken.|
Peru is not shy about it so I can tell you she weighs almost 23 pounds! Her son Oedipus, who was born here at the Aquarium in October of 2005, weighed in at 10 pounds.
Then the turtles get a full visual exam by our veterinarian. This includes looking at the eyes, in the mouth, and looking over the entire animal for any abnormalities.
|Julie exams the eyes of Peru.|
|Julie examining the plastron, or bottom shell, of Oedipus.|
The last part of the exam involves taking blood for analysis. The results allow us to make sure the animals are in good health. Where do you think we get blood from this type of turtle?
|If you guessed the tail you are right! Above, blood is being taken from dorsal tail.|
The turtles don’t seem to mind being out for their exams once a year. Their annual exams are important to ensuring they get the best care here at the aquarium. Until they visit the Animal Medical Center next year, you can find them in the Amazon Rainforest Gallery.
|Oedipus hangs out in his make shift hammock, one of his favorite spots where you can find him.|