The National Marine Life Center’s red-bellied cooter hatchlings are growing like mad! Could it be because they are eating their vegetables???
The vegetable of choice (per the Massachusetts Endangered Species Program headstart protocol!) is romaine lettuce, supplemented by a reptile vitamin called Reptomin. Our largest cooter, #8 – affectioniately known as “Scorpion” because of a funny curled tail, was 13.1 grams and 36.7 mm upon arrival. S/he, and now is 16.1 grams and 40.1 mm. Our smallest cooter, #6 – affectionately known as “Trouble”, was a mere 8.3 grams and 32.3 mm upon arrival. S/he is now 9.6 grams and 34.2 mm in length – a noticeable difference in an animal this small! Just for comparison’s sake, a gram is about the weight of a paper clip or regular M&M.
The moral of the story is – eat your vegetables!
We need volunteers to help care for these hatchlings. Volunteers may be as young as 14 years of age, and no previous experience is necessary. For more information, contact Joanne Nicholson at 508-743-9888 x302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.