This month we have placed a particular focus on enrichment for our turtles, especially those who have buoyancy syndrome, to encourage them to dive for their food. By tracking their progress we hope to get our turtles diving deeper over time. Our diving turtles also love enrichment feeding, making meal times more interesting and challenging for them.
Olga has been getting on really well with her weight jacket and we’ve noticed an increase in dive attempts when on her sea swims. It’s great news that she is attempting to dive and this will hopefully alleviate her buoyancy syndrome. She’s been diving for food below the surface to 23cm. Every time we use enrichment we aim to put the food a little deeper so that she can improve her diving. Olga has also been enjoying frozen watermelon rinds, enabling her to get the Vitamin A and C that she needs, in addition to her usual tuna, shrimp and mussels.
We’ve been tracking Tom’s diving progress by using enrichment tools to sink his food. His best attempt so far has been achieving food at 26cm below the surface. We hope to help Tom continue practicing diving to achieve food in a quicker time and from a deeper depth. He has also enjoyed going out on sea swims where he is able to get more exercise than in his tank. In addition to his usual tuna, shrimp and mussels he has also enjoyed frozen watermelon rind providing him with Vitamin A and C.
Hope is one of our most inquisitive turtles, always swimming over to investigate anyone nearby her tank. Recently she’s really been enjoying diving back and forth through her PVC hoop! She's incredibly smart and hence we’ve been hiding food for her in different enrichment tools. By mixing up which tools we use we aim to keep her entertained at mealtimes. She always loves to munch on seagrass also, whether sunk to mimic a natural sea grass bed or in a frozen block.
Biscuit really enjoys enrichment, especially if it involves diving for food. In addition to his scrubbing brush at the bottom of his tank we also added one in his tunnel, allowing him to scratch the top of his carapace. Biscuit often has a lot of algal build up on his carapace, but does not always enjoy someone scrubbing him, so hopefully the opportunity to scrub himself will keep Biscuit nice and clean.
Donatello is a really smart and agile turtle, so we’ve been trying our best to challenge him with different enrichment tools. We have tried hiding shrimp in watermelon rind, floating buoys, and weights to make him dive for the food. We are continuously trying to find new ways of challenging Donny to achieve his food. Recently he has been enjoying having his carapace scrubbed. We do this to remove algae build-up, which would be removed naturally in the ocean by cleaner fish or by scrubbing against hard coral.
Despite being a very fussy eater when he arrived at the centre, refusing to eat anything other than crabs and shrimp, Cora has now started being more adventurous with his food. Earlier this month he began eating mussels and more recently tuna! Following entanglement turtles will often restrict their diets due to stress, so its great news that Cora is now eating more types of food. We have also introduced enrichment tools for Cora, to encourage him to dive by sinking food around 25cm below the water. This month Cora was also moved into our biggest tank allowing him more space to swim, and given a new scratching post, he has been loving scratching his head and carapace. Cora also loves going on sea swims to build up his strength.