Eight 1 1/2 week old Northern Red Bellied Cooters (Pseudemys rubiventris) arrived at NMLC today around 2pm. Volunteer Linda Jackson and I drove to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species offices in Westborough and picked up 8 cooters for our facility and 20 cooters that will be disbursed among other groups in Cape Cod, south shore and southeastern Massachusetts. The red bellied cooters are listed as endangered species in Massachusetts, and the Commonwealth started a headstart program in 1983 to help restore the cooter population. To read more about the Northern Red Bellied Cooter program visit Masswildlife’s Red Bellied Cooter Website. The goal of the headstart program is to put 4 to 5 years of growth on the cooters in nine months. At this size (around 85 mm or 3.6 inches), the hatchlings are larger than a “munchable” size for predators and therefore will have a better chance of survival once they are released back into the wild. Please enjoy the photos of the newest members of the NMLC family!