Preparing Eleanor for Release

Eleanor basking
Eleanor basking in her habitat at NMLC.

We have enjoyed caring for the Diamondback Terrapin Eleanor these last few months, but it is time for us to say good bye and send her back where she belongs. Eleanor was brought to the National Marine Life Center back at the beginning of August after being held as a pet for approximately one year. NMLC took on the task of converting her to a natural diet and proper salinity and with the approval of our veterinarian and state officials she has been deemed ready for release. This week the staff and volunteers at the NMLC have been busy preparing for her send off.

Inserting Eleanor's Pit Tag

Eleanor received an exam on Tuesday morning including a pre-release blood draw. We received her results on Wednesday and all of her blood parameters were within normal range. The final step in her preparation was the insertion of a pit tag. A pit tag is what a veterinarian would use to “micro chip” your cat or dog. It is a tiny transmitter that is implanted under the skin to uniquely identify an individual animal. Rehabilitation hospitals and scientific researchers use these tags on a variety of species so that they can keep track of the individual animals they are treating or studying. The tag is about the size of a grain of rice and when scanned with a pit tag reader the number that appears can then be linked to that particular animal. If Eleanor ever ends up in another rehabilitation hospital or is scanned by a researcher they will be able to trace her pit tag number back to the NMLC.

Scanning Eleanor's Pit Tag After Implantation

So now that all the preparations have been made it is time for her release. We have scheduled her departure for Tuesday October 4th. Staff and volunteers will be meeting at the NMLC at 10:30 am to travel to the release site. Eleanor will be release in Wareham, Ma very close to where she was reportedly discovered as a hatchling. If you would like to attend her release please email Kate Shaffer at  For more pictures of Eleanor’s pit tagging procedure please visit our Facebook page.