This morning I drove with my son to the Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Office in Westborough to pick up three northern red-bellied cooter hatchlings. They are even smaller than last year. They are so small that the biologists decided not to notch the turtles this year because the stress of the procedure would be too much for the little reptiles.
It really is incredible how small they are. They probably weigh about 5-6 grams each. In a few years they will grow to be 10 pounds.
Our participation in the northern red-bellied cooter headstart program last year was a success and I am looking forward to this year. I'm excited to engage students more in the care and maintenance of the turtles and to integrate the environmental issues more into the curriculum. We are upgrading the plumbing in WASS3 to reduce the effort needed to clean the tanks and Sodexo has agreed to donate waste lettuce again.
I let my son brainstorm names on the ride back to Lasell. He liked Chara (his favorite Bruin), Tubby, Shelly, and a bunch of ridiculous sounding noises that really made him laugh. Last year I held contests to name the turtles but this year I am going to let the children and teachers at the Barn name them.
I'll post pictures soon!