Your Sea Turtle Questions Answered!

To celebrate World Turtle Day on May 23, 2015, Aquarist Ryan Schaeffer took some time out of his busy schedule to answer questions from followers of @birch_aquarium on Instagram. Thank you everyone who submitted questions!

Aquarist Ryan gives Birch Aquarium's Loggerhead Sea Turtle a scrub to remove algae on its shell.

Aquarist Ryan gives Birch Aquarium’s Loggerhead Sea Turtle a scrub to remove algae on its shell.

What are captive sea turtles fed?

We feed our Loggerhead Sea Turtle a good variety of restaurant quality seafood, including Blue Crab, Mackerel and shrimp. We add special vitamins to the food to be sure it is getting all the nutrients it requires for be healthy and happy.

How hard is a turtle’s bite?

I don’t know the exact amount of pressure a Loggerhead’s bite can be, but it is powerful enough to break thick crustacean and shellfish shells.

Loggerhead Sea Turtles can be found in tropical and temporate waters around the world. Here at Birch Aquarium, you can find the turtle in the Magdalena Bay Tank, next to the Kelp Tank.

Loggerhead Sea Turtles can be found in tropical and temperate waters around the world. Here at Birch Aquarium, you can find the Loggerhead in the Magdalena Bay Tank.

Are you guys helping with removing tumors from sea turtles suffering from fibropapillomatosis*?

Birch Aquarium not have the proper facilities to help with sea turtles suffering from fibropapillomatosis.

*Fibropapillomatosis is a disease that causes large tumors on sea turtles. These tumorshamper swimming, vision, and feeding. It most commonly impacts Green Sea Turtles.

How intelligent are sea turtles?

Based on my experience working with sea turtles I can say they can be pretty smart. For example, our Loggerhead Sea Turtle quickly learned that coming and touching a specific target we put in the exhibit it will be rewarded with a treat. We do this target training as it allows us to monitor the turtle’s food intake.

How fast does a turtle swim? 

Sea turtles may look slow having to pull around a large shell and all, but, when needed, they can get up to speeds as high as 15 miles per hour.

 

Thanks Aquarist Ryan for answering some great Sea Turtle questions! Be sure to keep an eye out for our Loggerhead Sea Turtle in the Magdalena Bay Tank, next to the Giant Kelp Tank.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle at Birch Aquarium.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle at Birch Aquarium.

 

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Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego