We would like you to meet Eleanor the newest patient at the National Marine Life Center. Eleanor is a Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) who arrived at the Center on Tuesday August 9th. She was found in Wareham last summer as a hatchling by some visitors who took her home as a pet. Luckily they were advised recently that Diamondback Terrapins are a threatened species and that it is illegal to keep them as pets. Her “owners” did the right thing in delivering her to a rehabilitation center like the NMLC. She is the same species as Teanna who was rehabilitated at the NMLC this past winter.
Diamondback terrapins are a brackish water turtle that live in local salt marshes and estuaries. Although they can survive at length in fresh water, their ideal habitat is slightly salty! As a “pet” Eleanor was being fed a turtle food called Reptomin and being kept in a fresh water tank. As with Teanna this turtle will need to reintroduced to a natural diet and habitat parameters. In the wild they mostly feed on clams, shrimp, crabs, snails, and small fish.
A great lesson can be learned by Eleanor’s arrival at the NMLC! It is very important to leave wild animals in the wild! If you find an animal you believe to be injured or unable to care for itself please contact your local wildlife rehabilitator. It is always best to purchase pets at a pet store and to research the species of animal you wish to adopt. There are many different species of turtles with varying dietary and habitat requirements. Also, as in Eleanor’s case you may not be aware that an animal is a threatened species and protected by federal and state law. Diamondback Terrapins are protected and regulated by MassWildlife. They have been notified of her arrival at the National Marine Life Center and will oversee her stay here. She will hopefully have a quick smooth transition and be released back into the estuary where she belongs very soon!
Come see Eleanor during our patient update on Mondays & Fridays at 10am!