Posts Tagged 'sea turtle'



A special Halloween costume

Our green sea turtle, Calypso, became costume inspiration for 4-year-old Gabe last Halloween. As three-year members, Gabe’s family visits the Aquarium quite often, making a trip once every five weeks. Through these frequent visits, Gabe has had time to explore many of the underwater creatures at the Aquarium.

Out of all the interesting animals Gabe has encountered, he is most fascinated with Calypso. Calypso is unlike the other aquatic animals because she has only three flippers.

Calypso is a rescued turtle that was stranded off the coast of Long Island, New York, in 2000. The female turtle was suffering from a condition called cold stunning, which is similar to hypothermia in humans. Turtle body temperatures normally range from 76° to 80° Fahrenheit, but Calypso’s body was only a frigid 40.7° Fahrenheit. Additionally, one of her flippers was found to have a severe infection, and had to be amputated. Due to the amputation, Calypso had a low chance of surviving in the wild, so the National Aquarium adopted her and made the Wings in the Water habitat her permanent home.

Although Calypso has only three flippers now, she is still very active. She leads a healthy life by munching on greens regularly. Gabe likes to watch her eat lettuce during feeding time. He also enjoys watching Calypso glide through the water with the other animals in the exhibit, including rays, sharks and several fish species.

Gabe’s costume idea became a reality after his school, and particularly his art teacher, agreed to help with the construction of it. The body of the costume was made out of papier-mâché. A matching camouflage hat and green sweatsuit completed the turtle look. The costume turned out wonderfully, and Gabe loved being his favorite animal for Halloween!

Has an aquatic animal ever been the inspiration for your Halloween costume? If so, send your story and pictures to media@aqua.org and we’ll post them on our blog!

Rescued sea turtle awaits release

After spending over a year in rehabilitation at the National Aquarium, the loggerhead sea turtle rescued by the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Resque Program (MARP) last July is now ready to be returned to the ocean! The MARP team will release the turtle from Assateague State Park on Saturday, September 19th in conjunction with Maryland Coastal Bays program’s Coast Day event.

MARP rescued the turtle after it was found in dire condition by the United States Coast Guard off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The underweight turtle had living organisms and epibionts embedded on its shell, so it could not dive properly. Fortunately, with the help of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Outpatient Center, the Aquarium’s vet team was able to bring the the turtle to full recovery.

Here is a recent video of the turtle swimming about in the rehabilitation pool:

This was one of the longest rehabilitation periods for a marine animal rescued by MARP.  Within months, the turtle’s shell surface healed and it was able to regain diving ability and a normal diet.  Achieving these tasks enabled the struggling, 57 pound turtle to gain weight. Since then, it has enjoyed a diet of capelin, squid, and blue crabs and has been maintaining an ideal weight of 90 pounds. The turtle’s rehabilitation period was extended, however, due to infections that had grown deep into the shell as a result of the embedded organisms.

Continue reading ‘Rescued sea turtle awaits release’

From the Curator: Healthy sea life in the bay

From Jack Cover, General Curator at the National Aquarium

Sunday morning I went down to Kent Island to collect comb jellies for the Aquarium’s new Jellies exhibit. I took a boat out on No Name creek, which is just north of Romancoke. It was a partly cloudy day and the water was fairly calm as I looked around for comb jellies.Chesapeake Bay

I saw a lot of Atlantic sea nettles, which we have plenty of at the Aquarium, but very few combs. I was drifting about 200-300 yards east of No Name creek (a bit northeast of the Romancoke public pier) staring  into the water for comb jellies, which were very few and far between.  I know they were there but were not coming to the surface because the conditions were just not right- small waves, they like perfect calm.

As I continued to look I saw a cownose ray swim along the surface about 50 feet away. All was quiet and mostly still. Then suddenly, about 4 feet off the side of the boat , a big object lauched out of the water like a polaris missile. I was completely startled and, at first, thought a diver was blowing up out of the water. It turned out to be an adult loggerhead sea turtle who was in obvious need of a big  breath of air and launched partly out of the water!

Continue reading ‘From the Curator: Healthy sea life in the bay’

MARP to the rescue!

On July 27 our Marine Animal Rescue Program team took in a stranded female loggerhead sea turtle found near the inlet in Ocean City, Maryland by the Coast Guard. The turtle was observed floating near a rock jetty – in the surf headed for the rocks. The Coast Guard retrieved the turtle after noticing signs of exhaustion and failed attempts to swim away. She was transported to the Aquarium’s hospital pool in Baltimore later then evening.

Upon arrival she weighed 57 lbs, which is about 10-15 lbs under normal weight. The most interesting observation of the turtle was that she was covered in all kinds of epibionts (mussels, barnacles, algae, crabs, worms, etc.) upon retrieval, as you can see in the before and after pictures. The rescue team removed about 10 lbs of epibionts from the poor turtle. She also had many embedded barnacles on the carapace, plastron, limbs and head and has suffered superficial scale loss on all limbs.

» Continue reading ‘MARP to the rescue!’


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