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Students at US University Rescue Hundreds of Baby Turtles Stuck in Storm Drain Using ‘Homemade’ Tool

Diamondback terrapin hatchlings often hide from the winter temperatures underground in their nest chambers. (Image for representation/REUTERS)

Diamondback terrapin hatchlings often hide from the winter temperatures underground in their nest chambers. (Image for representation/REUTERS)

The volunteers made a custom scooper from a telescopic aquarium net fixed to a bamboo pole and helped save over 800 of the turtles.

Over 800 baby turtles were brought to the University of Stockton’s vivarium after being rescued from storm drains from three different locations. According to a Facebook post by the University, these diamondback terrapin hatchlings had crawled out of their underground nest due to the harsh winter temperature but got stuck while crossing the street. Thankfully, these baby turtles were spotted by volunteers who rescued them from the storm drain.

Volunteers Marlene Galdi and Joanne Freas often help turtles to cross the street. However, Marlene spotted a few of these baby turtles stuck and swimming in a storm drain. She decided to rescue these turtles and came up with a special innovative device for this rescue operation. The volunteers made a custom scooper from a telescopic aquarium net fixed to a bamboo pole and pleased to see how helpful this invention was for the rescue.

The volunteers enrolled their rescued terrapins in a head start program at the Stockton Vivarium where they will receive care from John Rokita and his staff.

Volunteers also trained local kids to expand their rescue operation.

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The FB post by the University of Stockton adds that more terrapins will be arriving at the Vivarium in the coming weeks from a ‘conservation partnership’ with The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor that extracts and incubates eggs from road-killed females. These Hatchlings will spend about a year at the vivarium to give them an optimum growing start before finally being released into the wild. A head-started terrapin is 2-3 times larger than a wild terrapin of the same age. The northern diamondback terrapins are medium-sized turtle that ranges in length from 4 to 5.5 inches in male and 6 to 9 inches in female.

The University’s post adds that they have rescued 1,108 terrapins who are receiving care. These new 826 rescues will be joining the last year’s rescues and head starters raised from road-killed females and another eight non-releasable adults (all from long-term captive situations).

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