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Sea Turtle Surprise

Kirstie holds one of the NMLC sea turtle patients

Kirstie holds one of the NMLC sea turtle patients

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Kirstie Weighs a sea turtle upon admit

Before I started interning with NMLC I had never before considered working with sea turtles.  It’s not that I did not like turtles but more simply that my attention was drawn to the flashiness of marine mammals.  However, now that I have been working with the Kemps and Tide for a few months, I have come to realize that I really enjoy working with these animals.  Surprise for me!!  Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Hello…didn’t you see on the sign that we are both a seal and sea turtle center?”  My response to you is, “Of course I saw that.  I can read.”  But I will be honest, I was way more excited to work with the seals and therefore the thought of working with turtles was definitely pushed to the back of my mind.

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Kirstie helps to take measurements of a sea turtle patient

Now that I have had the pleasure of hanging out with our turtles, they may have become my favorite (sorry Ichabod!).  For one, I thoroughly enjoy participating in the treatments of the turtles.  Learning how to administer fluids and antibiotic shots has been a completely new and rewarding experience for me (plus I feel like a real vet, which makes me feel cool).  I get to ask tons of questions to our incredible animal care staff, who are people I have never stopped learning from.  Also running the rodeo that we like to call the “feeds” is interesting to watch.  I like to think that when the turtles are feeding is when their individual personalities shine through the most.  For instance #36 turns into a complete bully who seems intent on muscling away any and all food from almost every other turtle.  #32 is hard to spot because she cruising along the bottom and most likely getting her meal from there.  Sometimes I wonder if #37 knows there is more to the pool than just the edges.  And #33 lazily floats in the middle near the surface scooping up almost every piece thrown her way.  No offense to #33 but what a pig!  And who could forget about Tide, the loggerhead?  When I first laid eyes on him I could not believe his size.  The pictures on Facebook do not do that turtle justice.  He is a true living dinosaur and just watching him is completely amazing.

So yes, I have immensely enjoyed working with the sea turtles and I greatly appreciate the opportunity.  Such a nice surprise for me!

2 Comments

  1. I’m glad we’ve converted you to a turtle gal! Wonderful descriptions of the turtles’ personalities. Thanks, Kirstie!

  2. :) So glad you are at NMLC and enjoying the sea turtles! You do a great job! Thank you!

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