Say hello to our 2018 rehab and release loggerhead hatchling
OMG, we can’t even.
Our newest addition to the Adventure Aquarium family is officially on exhibit and, like proud parents watching their baby’s first steps, we are simply gushing over how well he’s* doing so far and crushing some major milestones.
*Side Note: You’ll notice that we’re referring to the loggerhead hatchling as a “he” in this post. The thing is, we don’t actually know the gender of this wee baby sea turtle. You can’t tell the gender of a sea turtle until they reach sexual maturity, which happens when the turtle is about 20-years-old. Because this little guy will be released as a yearling, we’ll never actually know its gender. And we really don’t want to call him/her an “it” for the time being SO we’ll just say “he”…OK? OK. *
Some Back Story
We participate annually in the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores’ Sea Turtle Program with this new hatchling being the fifth cared for by AAQ biologists. The hatchling will receive guidance and training from biologists over the course of the year. Activities mimicking what it would naturally do in the ocean will serve as a “sea turtle survival school” and help prepare for its life in the wild. The oceanic turtle will eventually be released this coming fall into the Gulf Stream off the coast of North Carolina, along with other yearlings from aquariums all over the country.
A Growing Baby Sea Turtle
The young turtle, which hatched last August, will call Adventure Aquarium home for much of the year.
After caring for him for about three months, our biologists have observed that this hatchling is very similar to our 2017 hatchling, Darwin. He arrived weighing just 81 grams and was the size of the palm of your hand. In just a short time, he’s grown to over 249 grams or around the size of a tea cup saucer. At that growth rate, he’s on track to be our biggest hatchling yet!
Not surprising due to his growth rate, this baby sea turtle has a voracious appetite and never misses a meal (no hangry turtle here). He is also very active and curious – already enjoying ice block enrichment, one of his “survival school” lessons. Now on exhibit, the turtle will be able to test his swimming skills as well as receive additional enrichment lessons all while guests have the opportunity to watch him grow.
Name Me Maybe?
During the month of January, we are asking you to help select the name of the young turtle at a voting station located in the Main Lobby.
Without further ado, here are the name options *drum roll*…
- D’Artagnan: Dart for short – of Stranger Things 2 fame
- Davey: Cute name, right?
- Tyrion: After the fan-favorite Game of Thrones character
- Maverick: As a homage to Top Gun
Using spare change, you can vote for your favorite name choice. All donations collected from the name voting will benefit sea turtles in the wild and the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Stay tuned as the winning name will be announced this coming February!
So, please stop by Sea Turtle Cove during your next visit to give a warm welcome to our lil’ hatchling…and then help name him!