Blanding’s Headstart Update

Sleeping under log pic Jan 25 2013

Best place to sleep. It’s both warm and protected!

Our headstart Blanding’s turtles are doing very well! When our little guys hatched in August their average weight was around 10g. Today they weigh a healthy 18g, and are even starting to develop their own unique personalities. One little guy loves to sleep under a piece of drift wood near his basking light. Another little one can always be found wedged beside the same two rocks.

The headstart program will be used to help Blanding’s turtle populations in Rouge Park, whom without anthropogenic measures will likely be extirpated by 2100. Planning for Blanding’s turtle recovery and management will ensure that this species continues to persist locally and can reach numbers that will sustain populations for years to come. This project includes collecting under permit turtle eggs from poor quality nest sites in an area with an established source population of Blanding’s turtles. Eggs are hatched and reared at the Toronto Zoo. Further research will be used to determine optimal care protocols to ensure survivorship and fitness of the turtles once released into Rouge Park.

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2 weeks after hatching

Growth lines pic for Jan 25 2013

6 months after hatching. Notice the white growth lines between the plastron scutes (belly shell of the turtle). I grow slow but I grow!

By:Shannon Ritchie (AAP Wetland Biologist)