Turtle Tots

Happy Birthday Baby!

Making it to its first birthday is quite an accomplishment for a painted turtle. At one year old, painted turtles are about the size of a quarter and have been very rich in luck (if not change).

These survivors beat the odds. More than 90 per cent of turtle nests are lost to predators, such as raccoons and skunks, which gobble up turtle eggs like they were candy.

For the 10 per cent of painted turtles that remain, the enduring hatchling’s first year is a quiet one. 

Leatherback Turtle Washes Ashore

A large dead leatherback turtle that was more than five and a half feet long washed up at Great Rock Bight beach on the north shore last Tuesday afternoon. The beach is owned by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank. Land bank property foreman Matthew N. Dix said the New England Aquarium was contacted, but then the turtle washed back out into the Sound.

Mr. Dix speculated that the turtle may have been killed by a boat, as it had large gashes on it that could have come from a propeller.

Endangered Green Sea Turtle Rescued

Endangered Green Sea Turtle Rescued


A 17-pound live green sea turtle found on Chappaquiddick more than a week ago is recovering at the New England Aquarium. The turtle, nicknamed Quiddick by a Vineyard veterinarian who first treated it, is the first endangered green turtle recovered live from the Vineyard.

Rescued Turtles Return to Ocean Home

A green sea turtle named Quiddick that was rescued from the chilly waters of Cape Pogue Pond 11 months ago reentered Vineyard waters last Friday as a fully recovered wild animal.

A crew of New England Aquarium personnel, together with a veterinarian with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries service in Woods Hole, watched with pleasure as Quiddick and an even more rare Kemp's Ridley sea turtle named Kiwi moved from the beach to the surf. The release took place in the early afternoon at Long Point Wildlife Refuge, owned by The Trustees of Reservations.

Oak Bluffs Contingent Assists in Sea Rescue of Leatherback

A 1,500 pound, eight-foot long male leatherback turtle that had become entangled in fishing gear was rescued in Nantucket Sound on Friday by a group that included the Oak Bluffs harbor master and shellfish constable.

“I couldn’t believe the size of that thing. That is a first for me,” said harbor master Todd Alexander.

Turtle Turns Up in Right Place at Right Time

Compared with the distance it had already come, the little turtle’s voyage from Martha’s Vineyard to Woods Hole was short. The only unusual thing was, it went by ferry.

Shellbey, the juvenile Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, was in bad shape, you see. Made lethargic by cold and battered by the weekend’s storm, it was washed up injured on the Island’s north shore.

Washed Ashore, Lost Sea Turtle Found Friends

The long journey of a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle named Shellbey came to a sad end early this month, when the turtle was found dead in an isolation tank at its temporary home at the University of New England’s Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center in Biddeford, Me.

Fortunately the family that found the turtle washed up on the Vineyard’s north shore shortly after Thanksgiving last year got one last chance to see Shellbey, when they visited the rehabilitation center in January.

Turtle Time

Same time, next year.

In the past two weeks, I have had three run-ins with an old friend. We seem to meet at the same place at the same time annually. I shouldn’t be surprised.

Leatherback Turtle Washes Ashore

The body of a leatherback turtle, a federally protected endangered species, washed ashore at South Beach on Sunday. Volunteer members of the turtle stranding committee said the cause of death was not immediately apparent.

“There was no sign of an injury,” said Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary director Suzan Bellincampi. Ms. Bellincampi said the turtle was in a state of decomposition and had likely been floating for awhile before washing ashore.

It’s a Snap

Turtles could teach us a thing or two.

These shelled oracles have inspired much advice. Australian athlete Bill Copeland advised us to “Try to be like the turtle — at ease in your own shell.” Wise Dr. Seuss observed that “All the turtles are free – As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.” And a Jamaican proverb rightly notes that “Sleepy turtles never catch the sunrise.”