Last week amidst the crowd of February vacation week visitors we accepted a new turtle patient at the National Marine Life Center. The little Red Bellied Cooter hatchling is part of the state’s head start program and has developed white patches similiar in appearance to the fungus growing on Catch’s shell. His care takers noticed the white patches and notified the state program coordinators who have once again asked NMLC to address the issue.
The little turtle dubbed “Sir Isaac Newton” a name submitted by Discovery Center visitor Emma Vickery and selected in a drawing on Friday is settling into his new home at the center and will likely begin undergoing treatment soon.
Isaac arrived at the center on Wednesday and received a full examination by Dr. Rogers on Thursday. We took some scrapings of the infected area to examine under the microscope and the fungal colonies look very much like those taken from Catch’s shell. In order to determine if they are in fact the same fungal elements a sample will need to be sent to Cornell for DNA comparison to the sample they processed for Catch. Once Isaac gets acquainted with his new home he will begin weekly shell treatments with “Curanail” and hopefully we can eliminate the fungus before the head start hatchling release at the end of May.