As a volunteer or intern at the National Marine Life Center, you get a unique chance to interact with many different species of turtles – including endangered species. You get the opportunity to feed and care for many species that you normally would never have the opportunity to interact with.
The Northern Red-Bellied Cooter Turtle is an endangered species of fresh water turtle we care for at the National Marine Life Center. By having them at the Center during their first 9 months of life, we give them a chance to grow larger in a safe, warm environment. Then, once at an appropriate size, they will be released back into the wild with a heightened chance of survival. The Northern Red-Bellied Cooter grows to be fairly large, about 11 to 12 inches in length.
There are two Box Turtles in the Discovery Center. Once considered common, the population has decreased to the point that Box Turtles are now listed as a vulnerable species. The Box Turtle is found throughout the eastern United States and Mexico. It is primarily a terrestrial turtle, although it can swim. The Box Turtle gets its name from its box shaped shell.
The Diamondback Terrapin is a brackish water species commonly found in the eastern and southern United States coastal swamps and estuaries. It has one of the largest ranges of turtles in the United States, being found as far south as Florida and as far north as Cape Cod. Olaf, the Diamondback at the National Marine Life Center is a permanent resident. He cannot be released because of chronic metabolic bone disease.