Before I started interning with NMLC I had never before considered working with sea turtles. It’s not that I did not like turtles but more simply that my attention was drawn to the flashiness of marine mammals. However, now that I have been working with the Kemps and Tide for a few months, I have come to realize that I really enjoy working with these animals. Surprise for me!! Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Hello…didn’t you see on the sign that we are both a seal and sea turtle center?” My response to you is, “Of course I saw that. I can read.” But I will be honest, I was way more excited to work with the seals and therefore the thought of working with turtles was definitely pushed to the back of my mind.
Now that I have had the pleasure of hanging out with our turtles, they may have become my favorite (sorry Ichabod!). For one, I thoroughly enjoy participating in the treatments of the turtles. Learning how to administer fluids and antibiotic shots has been a completely new and rewarding experience for me (plus I feel like a real vet, which makes me feel cool). I get to ask tons of questions to our incredible animal care staff, who are people I have never stopped learning from. Also running the rodeo that we like to call the “feeds” is interesting to watch. I like to think that when the turtles are feeding is when their individual personalities shine through the most. For instance #36 turns into a complete bully who seems intent on muscling away any and all food from almost every other turtle. #32 is hard to spot because she cruising along the bottom and most likely getting her meal from there. Sometimes I wonder if #37 knows there is more to the pool than just the edges. And #33 lazily floats in the middle near the surface scooping up almost every piece thrown her way. No offense to #33 but what a pig! And who could forget about Tide, the loggerhead? When I first laid eyes on him I could not believe his size. The pictures on Facebook do not do that turtle justice. He is a true living dinosaur and just watching him is completely amazing.
So yes, I have immensely enjoyed working with the sea turtles and I greatly appreciate the opportunity. Such a nice surprise for me!
Posted by Kirstie B.
Kirstie is a Spring, 2014 Intern at the National Marine Life Center. She recently graduated from Smith College with a major in Biology.