We would like to welcome the 2010 – 2011 class of Red Bellied Cooter Hatchlings to the family here at NMLC. We are working as a partner with the headstart program through the Natural Heritage Endagered Species Program, Massachussets Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. This morning at 6:45 am volunteer Juan Bacigalupi and I left the Buzzards Bay area and drove to Westboro, MA to the field office of the Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program to pick up 30 hatchlings of 144 that are being disseminated to partners across the state. Eight of those will be housed here and the other 22 are being picked up by Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School’s Environmental Program, Thornton Burgess Society and another partner in Dighton. The hatchlings are only a few weeks old. We will be keeping the cooters in a nice 82 – 86 degree water with as much romaine and red leaf lettuce as they will eat. The Cooters will be returned to the state in late May or early June, where they will be released as a group with all the cooters from partners from across the state.
When the cooters arrived here at NMLC we took their weights, lengths and pictures. Each cooter was also marked with Sharpie on their marginal scutes so we can continue to track each animals progress. Each one of them currently weighs between 8 grams and 10 grams (1 gram = 1 paper clip). Please enjoy the photos below of our new arrivals.
Check back on their progress! We will continue to post updates!