Creative enrichment for rehab & release loggerhead sea turtle hatchling Seamore

This is part of a series of ongoing updates related to loggerhead sea turtle hatchling Seamore, rescued off North Carolina in 2014. A rehab and release animal, Seamore will be returned back to the Atlantic Ocean in 12-18 months after getting a head-start at Adventure Aquarium.

By: Dave Lestino

Seamore_1200x628

Since we last checked on him, little loggerhead sea turtle hatchling Seamore has been adjusting well to life inside his new temporary home in our Caribbean Currents exhibit!

He now weighs over 610 grams (a little under a pound and a half). Compare that to his original weigh in of 76 grams when he arrived at Adventure Aquarium in November. That’s a growth of over 800% – 8x as large! He’s been growing about 40-50 grams a week, helped along by our Fish & Invertebrates team that feed him 4% of his body weight – a typical amount for a growing sea turtle.

In order to prepare Seamore for his eventual re-release into the ocean, our team provides him various forms of enrichment. Environmental enrichment is used in sea turtle rehabilitation to stimulate hunting and foraging as well to stimulate curiosity.  Combined, the purpose is to reduce resting and patterned swimming behaviors and increase focused behavior and activity.

seamore2_1200x628

Most recently, we’ve been using food in a floating whiffle ball, lettuce or broccoli in a sinking PVC grazer, a PVC mesh feed mat with lettuce, ice blocks with frozen food, water bottles with holes that allow them to sink to the bottom, and of course – mastigias jellyfish treats.

seamore_1200x6288

Of these Seamore’s favorites are the ice blocks and PVC grazer.  He has not shown much interest in the whiffle ball, and is usually aggressive towards it as opposed to trying to remove the food from the ball!

Watch Seamore in action here:

Stay tuned for more updates, including some one-of-a-kind creative enrichment techniques to keep Seamore stimulated. In the meantime, plan a visit to meet him in person inside our Caribbean Currents exhibit near Ocean Realm in Zone A.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s