[Coral-List] juvenile sea turtles

Geoff Cook geoffreymcook at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 17 12:57:17 EDT 2004

Dear Fellow Listers,
Although the letter that follows is not directly related to corals, I am hoping that the server will allow its passing and that someone can furnish my friends and colleagues with helpful information.  Many thanks in advance for your time and assistance. 
Kind Regards,
Geoffrey M. Cook
George Mason University
Department of Environmental Science and Policy
4400 University Dr.
Fairfax, Virginia 
"G'day Geoff, and huge apologies for bad correspondence.  We are in the 
Gulf of Thailand at the moment, Koh Samui, and, after the Malaysian Islands 
south of here, it's a bit of a disappointment waterwise.   Cloudy water.   
Whereas south the water was crystal clear and fish life pretty plentiful for this 
area.  Main reason for writing is I need HELP!!  There is a big effort 
being made (against big odds) to save the turtles (Green, Ridley and 
Leatherback) in the Malaysian Islands, and while in Perhentian Besar we caught up with 
a team helping the Green Turtles, but the big problem they had was ants 
attacking the nests.  When they find one with ants, they move the eggs 
that are still OK, and we were helping with one.   There was one egg that 
had been broken into and had ants in it, but the little turtle was still 
alive, so they gave it to me to see if I could save it!!!  Sucker..I kinda 
treated it like I would one of my quaileggs in New Zealand, and it worked.   
So I now have a very small turtle in a bowl in the cockpit!!  Where his 
umbilical cord goes into his stomach is not quite closed, but pretty close. 
Most days he is perky but he likes to lie on some seaweed I got him and
he wont eat.   I have tried small pieces of shrimp, squid, fillet steak 
and now some fish food from a pet shop that the local aquarium 
suggested.  He has a rather feeble go now and then, but 
does not pursue it with much enthusiasm.  The baby hawksbills we had years 
ago ate fillet steak, liver, prawns fish...anything.  I have been told that baby turtles were carniverous until they grew up.   So what I want to know is:   Do they only start eating when their stomach completely closes over (its a bit like the 
fontenella on a human baby!!!)?   How long can they go without food, and will he just start when he gets hunggry ? Am I tempting him with the right stuff? and if not what should it be?  Being a premature baby, he probably hasn't gone through the normal 
transitions, but we did let him walk down a beach a bit before putting him the water 
bowl!  But he has to go back to his beach in Malaysia and we will be back 
there in a month.   Can't put him in the water here, he wouldn't last five 
minutes with the amount of nets and fishermen, and they would catch him an 
shove him on a hook.  The turtle people didn't think I had a hope of saving 
him, and I can't get in touch with them.  I have written to a few turtle 
sanctuaries that I got from Google, but so far no answers..."

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