Meet Tobi: The diamondback terrapin

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Tobi swims up to smile for the camera!

Join us in welcoming out newest “staff member” here at the NERR: Tobi, the diamondback terrapin!

Tobi came to us from the Institute of Marine Mammals Studies and helps to educate the public on diamondback terrapins in the wild.

Diamondback terrapins (Malaclymys terrapin) are the only known species of turtle in North America that spend its life in brackish water (water that is a mixture of salt and fresh water). They are prominent in Gulf Coast marshes, estuaries, and tidal creeks.

Terrapin populations are becoming threatened from multiple factors, but the most significant reason is drowning in crap pots. Like crabs, turtles are attracted to the bait secured within the traps.  Unlike crabs, turtles need to surface to breathe air periodically.  But once a turtle enters into a crab pot, they usually do not find their way out, thus resulting in their drowning.

A turtle excluder device, or TED for short, is recommended for use by fishermen in their crab pots. A wide, rectangular, rigid plastic piece can be fit for any pot size. The size of the plastic rectangle is large enough to allow a crab to pass through, but too small (or rather short) to allow any turtles from entering into the pot at all.

Stop by and say hi to Tobi today!

For more information on diamondback terrapins and TED’s check out:

http://www.ghostpotbusters.com/Ghostpot_Busters/Kens_TEDs.html

 

 

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