Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Friday, April 04, 2008

Turtle Time

One year old Blanding's turtle. Aren't they cute?

Regular readers, please excuse today's foray into the land of the Chordata. Today at work we began a completely new venture. We are participating in a breeding and headstarting program for the Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii).

Blanding's turtle is an endangered species. It ranges across the upper Midwest from Nebraska to eastern Ontario. There are also populations in southeast New England. They live in sedge meadows, and are endangered mainly due to habitat destruction.

Jamie releases one of the subadult females into the new tank.

The headstarting program is part of an upgrade to the Museum's Mysteries of the Marsh exhibit. The turtles are living in a large tank that is lined with one-way glass. Visitors can see the turtles, but the turtles can't see, nor can they become used to, the people visiting them.

Bucket o' Blanding's

Five turtles arrived at the Museum in a plastic bucket today. Three are yearlings. We will rear them for a year and then they will be released into the wild in DuPage County. The other two turtles are subadult females. We are keeping them until they reach breeding age, when we will turn them over to the DuPage County Forest Preserve District for their captive breeding program. The juvenile and subadult turtles live in separate sections of the tank.

Settling in to their temporary home

We are very excited to be participating in a conservation program for these turtles. I look forward to be working with a vertebrate. These guys are much lower maintenance than giant pandas.

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At 18:21, Blogger robin andrea said...

What an exciting new program, doug. I love that you work to protect endangered species. It's vital in so many ways. And, how lucky to be working such cute critters. I hope there will be plenty of updates. They are very photogenic.

At 19:33, Blogger Chilmarkgirl said...

So this is the cutest thing i have seen in a while- so Doug-southeastern New England??? I want to find one!

At 05:39, Blogger valown said...

That's fantastic that you're getting to work so closely with this endangered species. What is the habitat type that these guys live in that is being destroyed?

At 07:39, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have career envy.

At 16:41, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Very cool, Doug!

Let me know if you need me & my kayak to assist in turtle delivery, lol. (No mocking now, I have rescued a chihuahua and a couple cicadas in that boat!)

At 21:11, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Robin- they are indeed photogenic. I suspect that this program will be of great interest to our members.

CG- It's a bit strange to realize that I would have no idea where to seek them out in SE New England. The range map extends from SE New Hampshire in an arc that extends roughly through Worcester and swings around to Cape Cod.

Valown- They live in sedge meadows. They tend to be fairly isolated from each other, and current land use patterns can make it difficult for the turtles to migrate between them. Deaths from being run over by cars are a significant source of mortality.

TF- I feel very luck to have the job that I do.

Dave- Were the cicadas trying to eat the chihuahua?

At 23:34, Blogger Ur-spo said...

as a lad we loved turtles of all kinds; they are cheering.

At 08:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just love them!! Turtles are so cute! Good for you!

Spo is right it always cheers me to see a turtle!

At 12:40, Blogger BentonQuest said...

Do you have to show the turtles porn to get them to breed like they do for the pandas?


At 11:34, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

Great post.

At 16:11, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Doug, how wonderful! Those turtles are so cute! Do they eat insect larva?

At 22:17, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Spo and Heather- Turtles are indeed cheering. Everyone seems to like them.

TT- Thanks

Kathie- They do eat insect larvae. Aso snails, worms, small minnows. We feed our crickets and different kinds of worms.


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