Turtles get first class ticket to the South Carolina Aquairum

Hi turtle fans,

Yesterday was a fun and exciting day for us in the Rescue Department, seven of our sea turtles flew in first class style to the South Carolina Aquarium!

Below an endangered sea turtle is prepared for a flight to the South Carolina Aquarium

It is always a challenge transporting sea turtles to far away facilities. With seven of our turtles slated to go to the SC Aquarium we began the search for transport options. As luck would have it, our colleagues at the SC Aquarium have a supporter with some very helpful resources. Charlestonian Mason Holland, owner of North American Jets, happened to have an Eclipse 500 (very cool jet and one of the most fuel efficient jets built) here in Massachusetts over the weekend. Mr. Holland offered to fly the turtles down to the SC Aquarium in the Eclipse 500.

Pilot Andy Smith from North American Jets and the line servicemen from Jet Aviation at Hanscom Field carry the turtles from the heated ambulance to the heated hanger.

In the photos below North American Jet pilot, Andy Smith, assists Rescue staff biologist Jen Kiesling with
pre-flight turtle checks.

Andy Smith getting a close up look at one of his passengers!

A hybrid sea turtle prior to the flight to the South Carolina Aquarium

The photo below on the left shows a few of the turtle boxes in front of the jet. The photo on the right
shows a line serviceman passing the turtle boxes to the pilot.

In the photo below, Jen assists the pilot with the final positioning of the turtle boxes.

In the photos below Andy Smith prepares the aircraft for take off and then proceeds down the
runway for the flight to Charleston, SC.

I am always impressed and amazed at the people who reach out and help us take care of these critically endangered species. A special thanks to Mason Holland for the use of his jet and for donating the flight. Thanks to pilot Andy Smith for all his help and guidance with the flight logistics. To the line servicemen at Jet Aviation, thanks for all your help in moving and loading these turtles - you took great care of us all! And finally, thanks to my friends and colleagues at the South Carolina Aquarium for taking these turtles to finish their rehabilitation for subsequent release back to the wild. [You can read the South Carolina Turtle Hospital's blog entry about receiving the turtles here.]

- Connie


And the winner is...

New Hampshire wasn't the only state voting yesterday. Votes from all around the world were cast attempting to name our newest patient.

And the winning name is... Beast!

Left Dave is holding the newly named Beast. Right is our namesake's picture.

Besides the four other choices we had some strong write-in contenders.

Here were a few:

Rainbow Dash


and Woody!

Chuck Norris also had a strong following.

Some other write-in names were... Mr. Freeze, Colossus, Storm and The Hulk. Those of you who wrote in those names are already winners: Some of our other turtles have already received those names!

Although Beast looks small in the kennel. This turtle weighs in at 49.94 pounds! The turtles get brought out for exams several times a week to make sure they are progressing in the right direction.

Diane and Danielle get ready to lift Beast to go back into the water.
Almost back in. 
Back to resting at the bottom. 

Hopefully this turtle enjoys the name that was chosen! Thanks to all of you for your votes. There were over 7,000 votes cast! Lots of friendly competition out there and amongst the staff here. We had fun and hope you did too!



A super-turtle without a name still needs to eat!

This is an update on a rescued loggerhead sea turtle brought to the Aquarium on January 2. The rescue team put up a poll up allowing you to help name this turtle. The winning name was announced in this post.

Our New Year turtle started being offered food on Saturday and like most loggerhead patients, this one started eating right away!

Like a typical loggerhead this turtle was sleeping in the corner at the bottom of the pool. A very good sign. Why is this a good sign? Being able to sleep at the bottom of the tank usually indicates that the turtle does not have any GI gas and is unlikely to be suffering from pneumonia. If a turtle suffers from either ailment they usually float at the top of the pool or do not rest flat on the bottom of the tank.

Wake up and smell the herring!

The chase begins... You may notice that the herring appears a little thin. When the turtles first start eating we only feed pieces of food that contain no skeletal structure or what we call No Hard Parts (NHP). The GI of the turtles after being stranded slow to almost a stop and if we feed items that may not easily pass through the digestive system items may become stuck and block food from passing through. Or worse a bone could puncture through an intestine causing a perforation to occur. Once we know for sure the GI is moving we then start giving them larger pieces of fish and squid.

Normally loggerheads don't need the tongs. But, because of the bluntness of their beak and the flatness of the herring fillet if it lands on the bottom they sometimes struggle to pick up the fillet. Occasionally the turtle may give up on eating if they become frustrated. The ridley's and greens on the other hand can easily grab pieces off the tank bottom due to the shape of their beaks.

After a good snack a well-deserved breath is needed!

Here is my shameless plug for naming this turtle Beast. In X-Men The Beast is an intellectual, well-versed, problem solving individual and does not always need to rely on brute strength to get things done.

Watching the loggerheads from the other side of the glass I sometimes wonder if they are not actually watching me. You can see their eyes follow you and one can only guess as to what they are actually thinking. Unlike the ridleys that are usually frantic swimming about the tank or the greens that follow you around, not because they are curious but because they think you are going to feed them the loggerheads have a cool detachment. They're big, strong, curious and smart!

Definitely sounds like Beast to me! (UPDATE: Find out the winning name here.)



The Coolest Super Turtles of All

Everyone's favorite superheroes are in Quincy this year! Of course, the coolest of all are Superman and Batman!

Above is Batman, #56! Batman, a Kemp's ridley sea turtle, made his appearance at the Animal Care Center on December 18 (photo on left). Perhaps his enemy Mr. Freeze had a hand in his stranding? But wait, Mr. Freeze is in Quincy too... #49, so maybe it wasn't him. Batman was fighting against hypoglycemia and potential kidney disease, but he seems to have won that battle for now. We are monitoring this turtle closely and he is just starting to eat. (Image above right from comicmegastore.com)

Superman, #60, stranded on December 20. Cold water seems to be his kryptonite. Superman likes to glide on the surface of the water as though he was flying through the air. He is probably one of our more critical turtles at this point with gastrointestinal problems. We are still working on getting him to eat so that he will be stronger. (Above image on right from superman.wikia.com)

(Above image from comicvine.com)

Also introducing...

Thor, #46, is probably are most spastic turtle as you can see in the photo above. Thor also has pneumonia and currently gets an oral antifungal in his food daily. You can see Thor protecting his tank mates in this news article here.

Perhaps Spiderman will make an appearance in Quincy next time.

And my plug for Wonderwoman... Vote for her to complete the Trinity! It's a wonder that this turtle survived into 2012! (UPDATE: The voting poll for this turtle is closed. The winner was announced here.)

(Above image from dccomics.com)



Help Name Our Newest Rescued Sea Turtle!

 Happy New Year Folks!

2012 is only a few days underway and the New England Aquarium's Rescue and Rehab. Department has already made history! Not a bad start so far.

On January 2, a cold-stunned loggerhead sea turtle was delivered to the Animal Care Center in Quincy. From the time when the rescue department was established in 1968, this is the first time we've had a live, cold-stunned sea turtle stranding after January 1! By this time of year, the temperature is typically too cold for any remaining turtles to survive. This turtle has beaten the odds, and we want the loyal followers and supporters to be a part of it!

In typical loggerhead fashion, this turtle is often seen resting on the bottom of his/her tank. Now weighing just under 50 pounds, this loggerhead turtle is in its juvenile life stages. As an adult, this turtle could weight up to 400 pounds!

This is the second loggerhead we now have at the rescue center. This turtle will soon join Juggernaut in the large tank as we like to pair sea turtles of the same species together.

As you all know, the naming theme for this years batch of turtles is comic book heroes and villains. Each of the staff here in the Rescue Team has chosen a name they felt would be appropriate for our record setting turtle. Now you guys and gals need to do the rest. Cast your vote in the comments section, and the name with the most votes wins! (UPDATE: Poll is closed. Winner announced here.)

Adam's Choice: BEAST
One of the original X-Men, Beast is a mutant that possesses superhuman strength, agility, as well as heightened senses.
(image from superherouniverse.com)

Kurt's Choice: THE FLASH
The fastest man alive with super-human speed and reflexes. Can travel at speeds fast enough to travel through time!
(image from allabouttheflash.com)

Katie's Choice: ELEKTRA
A female ninja assasin, Elektra can be seen in the Daredevil series of comics. A strong willed female mercenary, her trademark weapon of choice are two sai.
(image from Marvel.com)

Kerry's Choice: WONDER WOMAN
The original heroine! Her superpowers include superhuman speed, stamina, and the ability of flight!
(image from fanpop.com)

Connie's Choice: MISS BIANCA
A wholesome heroine from Disney's The Rescuers, she is known to be adventurous and daring. She is also known to possess a strong sense of duty when it comes to her position with the Rescue Aid Society.
(image from findingmickey.com)

(UPDATE: The naming contest has ended. The poll closed on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. Want to know which name won? Click here.)

Thanks for your help,

This super-turtle already seems to be on the road to recovery. Learn about its first meal in this post.