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ID help requested  2/19/11
I didn't realize it would be so difficult to identify a turtle (image enclosed) and am requesting your help. The turtle carcass was observed at Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach, Florida yesterday. The shell is approximately 10X7 inches.
Thank you,
<Hello Bob. This appears to be a sea turtle of some sort. Presumably a Green, Ridley, or Loggerhead given its overall shape, but without a photo of the turtle from above it's hard to say. Quite how it end up in the forest is a mystery, but artificial lights can cause problems for turtles because they resemble the dappling moonlight on the sea at night, so when females try to head back to sea after laying their eggs, then end up going in the wrong direction. Sadly one of the many reasons why sea turtles might not be around for very much longer. So given the good condition of the shell, if this sea turtle wasn't dumped here by someone, I'd assume she died from dehydration after being on land when the sun came up. Cheers, Neale.> 


Re: ID help requested, dead turtle     2/22/11
Hi Neale,
Much thanks for the information on my turtle sighting and your time devoted in replying to me.
<Glad to help.>
As I wrote my initial question to you, I was thinking how helpful it might have been to turn the carcass over to get a look at its underside. The discovery was made at a remote place, more specifically at Inner Key, within the park. I've investigated the Wikipedia information available for all the possible species of turtle you speculate I encountered with it still a mystery as to the species seen.
When I visit the park again later this week, I will ask the officials there if they can be more definitive. I will also revisit the shell which I speculate was "fresh" at the time of its initial observation as black ants were crawling on it. Loggerhead is a species of great concern at the park, long overdue for beach renourishment which would improve the success rate of the turtles, which interestingly favor Florida I discovered doing research. There is no unnatural lighting at the park that would entice a turtle to leave the beach and travel further inland. I'm going to speculate that an approaching full moon that has been rising to the East this past week perhaps in part led to the turtles demise.
<Possibly, but my understanding was that turtles use moonlight anyway, so shouldn't be confused by it. Of course not all turtles get things right, and natural selection may well "weed out" those who aren't very good at nighttime navigation!>
It's particular interesting to note that at nearly the same exact location, when I passed through for the first time a couple of years ago, I thought I was looking at concrete debris from an early construction effort. It turned out that the sun bleached debris is actually the remains of what was perhaps a nearly full grown Loggerhead from decades earlier.
<Wow! Does perhaps remind us that much beachside property was originally turtle nesting grounds. I'm a big fan of carnivorous plants -- of which the United States is extraordinarily well blessed -- but so many of the bogs these plants favour are vanishing under urban sprawl.>
I reported in my wildlife blog that the turtle most recently seen was consumed by a Black Vulture which was observed in a tree directly above the carcass. I would like to reference you in my blog . . .
http://swfloridabirder.blogspot.com/ . . . 
<Very impressive. Florida is a very nice birding site -- seen my only Osprey there. We have them here in the UK, but only in the wilderness parts. The Osprey I saw was fishing in a marina on Hutchinson Island!>
if I may in the future.
<By all means.>
What's your full name and capacity with WWM?
<Dr. Neale Monks, and I'm just one of the crew members here, helping Bob Fenner keep the site ticking over.>
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ID confirmed, dead SW chelonian    2/25/11
Hi Neale,
I got confirmation on the identity of the turtle carcass from Peggy at the park. The very rare Green Turtle it is (park people retrieved the carcass before I could take additional photographs of it). Its identity was
confirmed by the scaling on the turtle's head. I was also informed that Ridley has never been observed at the park. Your feedback has been greatly appreciated.
<Good to know you had confirmation, and also good to know that my guess wasn't far off. Best wishes, Neale.>
Re: ID confirmed
Hi Neale,
Are you OK with this commentary? . . . http://www.pbase.com/image/132775641
<Hello Bob. Hmm'¦ not really sure my quote makes sense! Perhaps better to say that the turtle's shell was penetrated by what you suspect to have been a Black Vulture. But for my part, "why the turtle was observed so far from the shore is unknown; often sea turtles get confused by artificial lights after they lay their eggs, confusing the lights for moonlight on the sea. When that happens they can't get back to the sea. But in this case, the forest was dark and that particular hazard isn't likely. The immediate cause of the death was probably dehydration, sea turtles not doing well on land once the Sun rises and it gets too hot for them." Cheers, Neale.>

Re: ID confirmed, Chelonia mydas    2/26/11
Hi Neale,
I revised the commentary. I hope it makes more sense. I'll be sure to ask for any additional details about the turtle known (such as if carrying eggs) when I visit the park again. This has been very insightful for me
where I frown upon my not immediately reporting the sighting to the park officials while not realizing the importance of it at the time.
<Bob, honestly, I really don't like this: "but possibly due to natural selection weeding out this individual from the gene pool as its sense of direction was so poor with no artificial lighting involved in the location of its ultimate fate." It's bad science. It's impossible to know why this turtle got lost, and even if this turtle didn't get to breed (and likely it had come ashore to lay eggs, so likely had bred) it isn't natural selection
that *causes* animals to die. Natural selection is the cumulative effect of animals successfully breeding (or not, as the case may be) and over time the genetics within a population changing because the fittest specimens produce the most offspring. Does that make sense? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: ID confirmed   2/26/11
Hi Neale,
That makes a lot of sense.
<Cool. Good luck with your birding! Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle question. SW avail.... Oh, and shark sel. f' as well   2/28/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I just bought a new tank for my living room/game room (pool table, bar, darts, etc.). The tank is 8'x3'x3', 538 gal.
<VERY cool '¦ and a lot of us here are now officially jealous of you>
I have a 100 gal. sump, and I am currently in the process of replumbing it. I need a new, bigger pump than the one that came with it. It's gonna be a saltwater tank, FOWLR. I already have a 90 gal reef tank, a 45 gal. FOWLR, and a 35 gal tank that I will probably turn into a quarantine tank (all saltwater of course).
<At that size, please also give serious consideration to water changes. Permanent plumbing to a drain, a safe, warm place to have a minimum of  75 gallons of new water ready for changing (538 gal + 100 gal sump plus 35 gal quarantine tank) plus a method to get to the various tanks. It seems obvious but you'd be surprised how many people don't think of that until after '¦ those 5 gallon jugs from the local fish store just don't cut it when you need 15 of them per week><<Excellent. B>>
My question is this. I am very interested in getting a turtle for it. Is there anywhere that I can buy one?
Is it even legal?
I've been looking over the internet, and I can't find anything so far. I am trying to make a list of what I can stock this tank with, and I think a turtle, among other rare exotic fish would be so cool.
<A turtle would be cool. So would a Marine Iguana from the Galapagos. So would a dinosaur '¦ but the first two are illegal and the last one is impossible><<But, I seen it on TeeBee>>
<Seriously '¦ even if virtually every species of sea turtle in the world was not listed as CITES protected species '¦ it simply isn't possible to provide a health environment for them -- and even if you could (which you can't) you can't provide the proper diet.>
I am open to any suggestions if you have any.
<On the off chance that I haven't made myself crystal clear -- there is no legal way to acquire one and even if you could, the cost of care would be astronomical and the end result would be a dead sea turtle. You'd be better off AND happier to amass a laundry basket full of $20 bills and toss them down a storm sewer. The net effect will be the same and it would be over sooner.><<& less frustrating and time-consuming>>
I am looking into a couple of sharks as well, if it is legal.
<Certain sharks are legal, yes.>
I'm not sure.
<For many years, not more than 45 miles from where you live, I raised and housed 4 alligators. When friends and neighbors would look at me and ask "why Alligators???" I' reply, perfectly honestly '¦ "because sharks are too darned delicate!">
<The problem, as I see it, is that the thing that comes to mind when someone wants to keep a shark is Bruce (the shark from "Jaws") also known as Carcharodon carcharias, The Great White Shark - right? Or a Bull shark or at least even a Hammer Head? All the really GOOD sharks are the pelagics - the open-ocean types or else their in-shore cousins the White Tip, Gray Reef, etc. '¦ but without exception those can't be kept in a closed system, even as sophisticated as yours. They need, at best - tens of thousands of gallons per foot of shark, constant keeper and veterinarian attention and all the attendant expense that go with that. So what we're left with are Bamboo sharks, Horned Sharks and a few other members of the family I call "The Boring, lazy, non-menacing Sharks">
<Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sharks.htm>
[Editors Note: On behalf of WWM we would like to apologize to any and all Bamboo sharks, Horned sharks, their families, relatives and dependents as well as their faithful fans, keepers, breeders, resellers and importers for that unwarranted insult. Moreover, having met Mr. Barton on several occasions '¦ he has no room to be calling anyone else Boring, Lazy or Non-menacing '¦ that was the quintessential case of the pot calling the kettle.]
As you can imagine, with a tank of this size, I want to have some of the best
livestock in it.
<I have an opinion that my colleagues may not share, so take it with a grain of salt (that may be been a pun - grain of salt!): Consider resisting the urge to put as many different species in that tank as possible and instead see how many of the SAME species you can accommodate. What I mean is this, the behavior and appearance of the Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) is absolutely AWESOME in large groups/schools to the point of almost taking your breath away. Unfortunately, most of us mortals simply don't have enough "tank" to be able to house more than one or two. You do. If you apply some different logic (think outside the tank, to make a pun) you could end up with something unique. "The most impressive collection of {something} west of the Mississippi" or something like that.>
I plan on documenting the whole process, and as I go I will send pics if your interested.
<We are very interested -- along with a narrative of the process and the decisions that went into it!>
Right now its empty. but just the size of it alone sitting in my room is pretty awesome. I always come to WWM, and you guys have really helped me over the years.
<Yeah, but that was before *I* joined the staff. I've brought the team average down a few points since then>
This is the first time I've actually asked a question,
<And maybe learned your lesson?>
and I am sure you can give me some great advice like always.
<A lot of the team give good advice. Most give GREAT advice. Unfortunately, this time '¦ you got ME!>
Thank you in advance.
Rudy, Chino Ca.
<Seriously Rudy -- take lots and lots of pictures and send them to us periodically.>

Sea Turtle System Filtration Dear Mr. Fenner, <Hi there> I found your article about establishing biological cycling on the web and was just wondering whether you could give me some advice as I have never had an aquarium in my life before, but am currently in the process of setting up a marine aquarium system here at the University of North Carolina. <Okay> I will be having eight 50-Gallon tanks with 80oF saltwater containing each a loggerhead sea turtle hatchling. These individual tanks will be connected to and supplied by a 500-Gallon sump tank containing 400 Gallons of water and various filtration systems. Besides using a filter bag for mechanical filtration, a protein skimmer, and a UV sterilizer, I realize that I will need some sort of biological filtration in the sump tank. So I had the following questions: 1) What medium for biological filtration would you recommend for such a large system, how would I set it up, and how much volume-wise would I need of the medium? <I would utilize a fluidized bed filter in this setting... due to the high and variable production of nitrogenous wastes by these turtles... The arrangement of plumbing, sumps to accommodate this filter can and should still incorporate your transit volume sump.> 2) As I am pressed for time to get the system up and running and thus ready for the turtles, do you think the method for fish-less cycling would work for such a large system, and if not, what other method of spiking would you best recommend for my situation? <I would avail yourself of "some" (a few tens of pounds) of "fresh" live rock... and not resort to inorganic sources of ammonia to stir on establishment of nitrification).> If you could give me some advice on these issues and/or could recommend someone who is experienced with the startup and running of such large systems, I would be extremely grateful. <I am referring you to the folks at RK2 Systems, Sven Fossa (fabricators, consultants in aquaculture) for more input. Please feel free to re-contact me if there are other issues, any of this is unclear. Bob Fenner> Many thanks in advance and kind regards, Cordula

STI News: 39 rare turtles hatch from eggs found This message was forwarded to you from Straits Times Interactive (http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg) The turtle lost its way 39 rare turtles hatch from eggs found THIRTY-NINE Hawksbill turtles, which hatched from a clutch of eggs found in Jurong Island two weeks ago, have been handed over to Underwater World. The discovery of the eggs on Aug 7 created quite a stir, as the turtles, a highly-endangered species, are rare and hardly ever lay their eggs in Singapore. The hatchlings are the only ones to survive from the hundreds of eggs that were unearthed by workers. Associate Professor Diong Cheong Hoong, the head of the Natural Science Academic Group at National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, cared for the turtles for 10 days before handing them over to Underwater World. Half of the hatchlings will be released at Jurong Island in a month's time; the other half in a year. IP Address:

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