My Friends the Terrapins

I’m baaaack, and I come bearing a new video clip.  Somehow even though we didn’t have students here the second half of this week (darn you, Atlanta blizzard!), I’ve still felt really busy lately, and when you add that to the cold weather that’s made me not want to budge from my cozy bed, nature blogging ground to halt.  But today I finally got out my camera and headed to our animal room to introduce you to some buddies of mine.

Part of my job includes animal care, specifically taking care of box turtles and diamondback terrapins.  Today when I went to give the terrapins their chopped up bits of shrimp, I wanted to take some photos of them, but because of their nonstop movement and the poor light in the lab I ended up taking a video clip instead.

Diamondback terrapins, Malaclemys terrapin, are aquatic turtles that live in the salt marshes of the east coast.  Here on Jekyll Island, the females experience high rates of mortality during the spring egg-laying season because they come crawling out of the marsh looking for high ground.  Guess where the highest ground in their habitat is?  The causeway connecting the island to the mainland.  Which is frequented by speeding cars.

Anyway, my three little friends have an incredible amount of personality.  When I walk up to their tank they come paddling over frantically, obviously associating me with food.  Then, when I actually try to feed them, they get so distracted by trying to nip my fingers that they ignore the actual shrimp and pellets.  Sometimes they flail their front feet so hard that the end up doing backflips.  It’s nuts.

Tomorrow I am off to Atlanta to visit the world’s largest aquarium.  Japanese spider crabs, manta rays, and whale sharks!  Expect photos.

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