Hungry, hungry turtle.

If you’ve been to our Dalton Discovery Center recently, you’ve probably noticed that Betsy is growing very quickly these days! She is eligible for release when the top of her shell (her carapace) reaches 45 cm in length, and right now, she is at 44.3 cm!! With less than 1 full centimeter to go, we are preparing for her release.

UPDATE: Betsy has since hit her 45 cm mark!

One of the ways we can do this is by introducing different types of enrichment. Since most turtles Betsy’s age and size are eating things like crabs, lobsters, or other hard-shell crustaceans, we thought we would give it a go! Normally, we feed Betsy with a PVC device that has a bunch of holes in it, and in those holes is where we place her food. She has to maneuver her way to the pole, and forage her food from it. This triggers some of her natural instincts that she will use in the wild!

To further enhance those instincts, we placed a live spider crab in her enclosure. This allows for her to “hunt”, and use some of those additional instincts that she possesses. The good news is… she did great! You can see her footage below. Make sure you swing by the Nature Center soon to wish her well, because she hopefully will be on her way to the wild in due time!