This past Wednesday, National Marine Life Center staff and volunteers took a little road trip down to Lieutenant Island, Mass Audubon Welfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to release three of our Diamondback Terrapins – Penny, Schofield, and Bubbles. The three terrapins had all been victims of cold stunning, meaning that their internal body temperatures had dropped dangerously low due to cold temperatures. Turtles are reptiles, which means that they rely on their environment to determine their body temperature. When turtles are exposed to cold water temperatures for prolonged periods of time, their bodies begin to shut down as they enter a lethargic state. Cold stunning can decrease heart rate and blood circulation. It can also cause shell deterioration and even death if they are not found in time.
Luckily for Penny, Schofield, and Bubbles, they were found and rescued by local biologists and were cared for at Wild Care Cape Cod and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University before being transferred to the National Marine Life Center.
Although Bubbles, Schofield and Penny are all the same species, they all have different personalities and will be missed dearly. Schofield and Bubbles were rescued this winter and were only with the NMLC for a short time, but they definitely will be remembered. Bubbles was always very active in his tank, constantly swimming around and climbing on the rocks in the tank that he shared with Schofield. Schofield was more feisty than Bubbles. She was a known escape artist that never stopped trying to ‘break out’. You had to always be on your toes when cleaning the tank or feeding her. No matter the size of the container that you put her in, she could climb her way out in thirty seconds flat if you turned your back for too long.
Penny was rescued in the winter of 2013 and became apart of the NMLC family. She had her own tank with her own window right next to the office in the main NMLC building. She could always be found sitting on her rock, watching the traffic outside the window, or swimming around the tank and watching people move around in the office. She will definitely be missed most by Adele, the Operations Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, who always made sure that Penny had a clear view of the street by removing any obstacles from her view.
Penny, Bubbles, and Schofield will be missed at the NMLC, but we count their rehabilitation back into the wild as a great success. Thank you to all that helped make their release possible!