Thursday, March 22, 2018

My Cousin: The Loggerhead Turtle

Check this out! Young Loggerhead turtles have internal GPS systems. Amazing! They read the Earth's magnetic field to adjust the direction in which they swim. It seems they hatch with a set of directions, which, with the help of their magnetic sense, ensures that they always stay in warm waters during their first migration around the rim of the North Atlantic.

Over time they build a more detailed magnetic map by learning to recognize variations in the strength and direction of the magnetic field lines. It isn't known how the Loggerheads sense magnetism. Part of the problem is that magnetic fields can pass through biological tissues without being altered, so the sensors could, in theory, be located in any part of the body.  Many researchers think that magnetic receptors probably exist in the head of turtles and perhaps other animals. These might be based on crystals of magnetite, which align with the Earth's magnetic field and could pull on some kind of receptor as it changes polarity. The mineral has been found in some bacteria, and in the noses of fish like salmon and rainbow trout, which also seem to track the Earth's magnetic field as they migrate.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Don't call me 'cupcake' or I'll say "eat me!" Perhaps an idea for your sweet tooth for today's Irish holiday.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Say Hello to the South American Tortoise

The largest tortoise on the mainland of South America, this tortoise is named after the large yellow or orange scales that cover the front of each forelimb. The elongated carapace, or upper shell, of the South American yellow-footed tortoise is brown, with yellowish or orange tones in the centre of each scute. The well developed shell on the underside of the tortoise, the plastron, is yellowish-brown, with darker coloring at the edges of the scutes. Thin, leathery, yellow to orange scales cover the head of the tortoise, and it has a slightly hooked upper jaw. Males of this species are generally larger than females, and can also be distinguished by their longer, thicker tails, more elongated carapace, and concave plastron. It is thought that the more elongated carapace of the male is better suited to moving through the dense understorey of the forest, while the shell of females is adapted to store eggs.

Threatened by hunting throughout its range, the South American yellow-footed tortoise is now considered to be vulnerable to extinction. Although it is generally not the primary target of hunters, Amazonian Indians always capture these slow-moving tortoises when out hunting for other animals.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018

Take an Expedition to the Galapagos Islands

You can visit and explore the unique landscapes, waters and species of the Galápagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions. Learn more here.

READ MORE about traveling to the Galapagos Islands

Monday, February 12, 2018

Good Night Little Turtle

Check out "Good Night Little Turtle" children's book available on Amazon.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Common Turtle Diseases

Common Turtle Diseases

To help pet owners, here's a quick overview of the diseases affecting turtles:

Deficiencies (vitamins): to be cured, vary your turtle's food and let them sunbathe!

Deficiency (calcium and UVB): a balanced diet will prevent calcium deficiencies. The lack of calcium or ultraviolet rays (direct contact with sunlight) makes the turtle amorphous and softens its shell (which is called a "toblerone shell").


Constipation: caused by dry food, you must  bathe the turtle in warm water several times a day and give them high-fibre food. If nothing progresses, you can give them a little paraffin oil.

Diarrhea: the origins are different (intestinal parasite, thermatique shock, dietary imbalance) and this disorder may just be a phase if the turtle continues to feed and live normally.

Dehydration: To prevent it, the turtle should always have access to water. A turtle with sunken eyes and no urine is probably dehydrated.


Anorexia: a sick turtle will tend not to eat. And anorexia is often the result of other diseases. Anorexia can also be caused by  stress due to a change of environment (new enclosure, death of a partner) or a food that does not fit them.

Pneumonia: only a vet can determine the cause of pneumonia, which can be viral, bacterial, parasitic ... It may be pneumonia if the turtle breathes loudly, if it is weak or anorexic.

Rhinitis causes nostrils flows - the turtle should be dewormed before being treated with antibiotics if rhinitique comes from mycoplasma.

Sepsis caused by an untreated infection that is spreading throughout the body. The turtle is then slaughtered with red spots observed on its members or its plastron.

Stomatitis: infection occurring in the oral cavity, usually out of hibernation or when the turtle is very weak. When the tongue is reached this is called glossitis, causing anorexia and salivation.

Abscess: localized collection of pus in the skin of the turtle necessarily leads to surgery.

Dermatitis humidity: terrarium turtles can suffer from excess of moisture which causes small blisters to appear on the skin or on the shell. Treat by applying betadine on the affected areas.

Retention of eggs: a female turtle too stressed or not finding a quiet place to dig does not lay her eggs. The turtle will be restless and often anorexic. Take her to a veterinarian.


Ticks: as soon as you notice a tick, it should be soaked in ether and then extracted. It is recommended to apply an antiseptic lotion where the tick was sucking blood for several days.

Myiasis: they are caused by fly larvae settling under the skin which sometimes creates deep wounds. You need to call a vet.

Protozoa and worms: should be avoided with anti-worm treatment.

Friday, February 2, 2018

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, January 28, 2018

Turtle Temple

And now, for a moment of Zen at Fukusai-Ji-Zen Temple in Nagasaki, Japan:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Meet Lonesome George

This incredible creature was the last surviving member of the Galapagos'
Pinta Island tortoise sub-species when he died in 2012 at around
100 years old. George has been preserved and you can visit him in
taxidermied form at the 
American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Read more about Lonesome George at Smithsonian mag

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Creature Feature

How can anyone not love the Mary River turtle of Australia? He has a 'certain' something that I don't have. Like green hair, giant nostrils and chin horns. Character.