Friday, June 24, 2016

Our Amazing Underwater World

Sent to Nat Geo by a fan:
An amazing National Geographic image

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

My Cousin: The Diamondback Terrapin

Can this guy get any more handsome? Look at his markings!

The Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) was once almost pushed to extinction due to a fashion among some members of American society for turtle meat, a trend that thankfully died out before this terrapin did.

The Diamondback terrapin has an oblong upper shell (carapace) that is grey, light brown or black and patterned with concentric diamond-shapes. The shell on the underside of the terrapin (the plastron) can range in colour from yellowish to green or black, and may be decorated with bold, dark markings.

The grey or black skin of the limbs and head bears dark flecks and spots, the head is short and flat, and the prominent eyes are black. The large, webbed feet are adapted for swimming, but also bear strong claws that allow the terrapin to clamber up out of the water. Female diamondback terrapins are larger than the males, and have a broader head and shorter tail. Juveniles are patterned much like adults but usually brighter and have rounder shells.

The diamondback terrapin is native to the United States, where they can be found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Cape Cod to Texas. The diamondback terrapin inhabits the brackish waters of coastal marshes, tidal flats, coves, estuaries and coastal lagoons.

The Diamondback terrapin is believed to be the only turtle in the world that lives exclusively in brackish water (containing some salt, but not as much as ocean water), habitats like tidal marshes, estuaries and lagoons. Most terrapins hibernate during the winter by burrowing into the mud of marshes.

Although not endangered, declines in population are a result of drowning in commercial crab pots and is the major threat to the Diamondback terrapin, while coastal development interrupts nesting beaches.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Welcome to Our World, little fella!

Look at this adorable little turtle baby! Now for a good stretch into your new world!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sins of Summer

Humans, as you make your way to the beach this summer, please remember what your garbage left behind can do to wildlife in the area.

Please don't let this happen. Remember this image next time you encounter a plastic
6-pack beverage holder. Be sure to dispose by cutting into pieces or recycling.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Beaver Lake, Florida Turtle Hangout

Looks like a few healthy Red-Eared Sliders just chillin' in Beaver Lake

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Technology Saves a Tortoise!

Brazilian tortoise Freddy lost his shell (and home) from a brushfire and the volunteer group Animal Avengers from Sao Paolo stepped in to rebuild him a new 3-D carapace! Read the amazing story here.

Freddy's new shell was completely reconstructed using 3D technology!
(Thanks to Raymond in Amsterdam for this story!)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Keep Your Beach Clean

Please remember to keep your local beaches and waterways free of garbage that can make its way into the water! Plastic bags are a particular threat, since sea turtles can mistake them for jellyfish — one of their main prey sources — causing them to starve or die. Additionally, turtles can choke or become entangled in fishing gear like nets and hooks, as sadly pictured here.

This sea turtle has a fishing hook lodged in its esophagus, rescued by the Sea Turtle Hospital
in Topsail Island, North Carolina. (Photo: Oceana / Cory Wilson)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Meet My Mate Maxine

Folks, I have a new home in this scenic koi pond and also a new lady friend, Maxine! You heard that right! We spent the winter together in our new magical, outdoor space and now can't wait for the summer season to begin!

Maxine (top) and Henry (bottom)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ah, the Red Crowned Roof Turtle

This critically endangered but beautiful freshwater turtle can be found in South Asia, although only a few hundred remain. The turtles like to bask in the sun on land. In the breeding season, the heads and necks of male turtles exhibit bright red, yellow and blue coloring. The females excavate nests in which they lay clutches of up to thirty eggs.

Historically, this turtle was found in central Nepal, northeastern India, Bangladesh and probably Burma, but it has suffered declines in population due to being harvested for meat and shells, drowned in fishing nets, water pollution, hydro-electric schemes and habitat loss. Fewer than four hundred adult females are thought to remain in the wild, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature rating this turtle as being "critically endangered." India has put conservation measures in place, and a captive breeding program has been initiated.

The large Batagur turtles are probably the most threatened freshwater turtles in India. Their populations have now been drastically reduced due to poaching for their meat and shells, accidental drowning in fishing gear, water pollution, hydroelectric infrastructure projects, habitat destruction by sand mining, and egg predation by jackals.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Puerto Rico's Turtle Defender!

The Sierra Club has awarded Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize for his years of work protecting Puerto Rico's most vulnerable coastal ecosystems, particularly leatherback sea turtle nesting beaches. Nice job, Luis, thanks for your dedication!

Read the full story HERE