Friday, August 27, 2010

Diamondback terrapins

Megan Moore, Delaware Expedition

One of the species of animals that found their way into the weir nets were diamondback terrapins. Diamondback terrapins are a "near threatened" species of turtle that can live in a mix of fresh and salt (brackish) water. We have two diamondback terrapins in our thinking gallery on the second floor of the Aquarium’s main building. Prior to the turtles being listed as near threatened, the fisherman Chris would catch them to be sold to Asian markets for turtle soup.

The diamondback terrapins that we saw were all comfortably hanging out in the weir nets - possibly even snacking on some of the fish in the nets. In fact, before they pull up the nets the turtles can come and go as they please. But as they pulled up the nets the turtles then realize they’d rather be on the outside of the nets. They began to climb up the sides of the nets. It was rather comical to watch! This one turtle almost made it out before the net shook enough that it rolled back down. Here's some video of its valiant effort!

Diamondback terrapin swimming free from the nets

All their worry is for nothing because as soon as the fisherman can reach them they are picked up and released. Just like this guy.

Dave Wedge about to release diamondback terrapin back into the water

Because of their conservation status is was a good sign to see so many of them!

- Megan

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