Endangered Keeled Box Turtle Hatches At The Tennessee Aquarium

October Surprise A Real Treat For Herpetologists

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - by Thom Benson
- photo by Tennessee Aquarium

A tiny new face has Tennessee Aquarium herpetologists smiling. This is the Aquarium’s first successful hatching of a keeled box turtle, Cuora mouhotii, a species that is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Unlike other endangered turtles reared at the Aquarium this year, this recent addition was rather slow to venture into the world. “The spiny turtles just come right out,” said senior herpetologist Bill Hughes. “But this turtle seemed content to open one end of the egg and look out at the world from inside the shell. It stayed there for two days before emerging.”

Keeled box turtles get their common names from the three raised ridges, or “keels” running the length of their shells. The edge of the shell has a number of sharp spikes near the tail. Their rugged appearance doesn’t match a tender start. This species tends to lay rather fragile eggs that are often crushed by the parents. Luckily this one was discovered by keepers before being damaged. “This baby turtle hatched after an incubation period lasting 126 days,” said Mr. Hughes.

This species is native to China, India, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam. Like many other Southeast Asian turtles, keeled box turtles have been over-collected in the wild for food and the pet trade. Several conservation organizations are working to protect the remaining wild populations from illegal trade, while zoos and aquariums are working toward increasing assurance populations in human care. This assures that the species does not go extinct if these animals disappear in the wild. Currently the U.S. population of keeled box turtles at accredited zoos and aquariums is less than 20 animals.

The Tennessee Aquarium has one of the largest turtle collections on public display with more than 500 individuals representing 75 species. The Aquarium now has six keeled box turtles. There are three adults, one male and two females, this new baby and a pair of young keeled box turtles on exhibit in the Turtle Gallery on level 2 of the River Journey building.



This Week's Tennessee Tourism Round Up

Travel back to medieval times, toast your wine glass, relive the magic of Harry Potter, hang out with the class of Rydell High with  Grease , hunt for bargains, hunt for ghosts, camp out at the zoo or jam out to free music. Here’s what’s going on across Tennessee this week. For a complete list of events, visit  tnvacation.com/calendar . Ongoing Memphis –  ... (click for more)

Oceans 3D: Our Blue Planet Launches At IMAX May 25

For many Tennessee Aquarium guests, gazing into the Secret Reef exhibit is as close to SCUBA diving as they’ll ever experience. But beginning May 25, visitors will be able to delve even deeper when Oceans 3D: Our Blue Planet premieres at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater.  This new IMAX film takes audiences on an undersea adventure of a lifetime. Using OceanX’s research ... (click for more)

Aaron Biddle, 21, Shot And Killed On Basswood Drive Saturday Afternoon; Suspect Detained

Aaron Biddle, 21, was shot and killed on Saturday afternoon. The Chattanooga Police Department responded around 3:45 p.m. to the 7800 block of Basswood Drive on reports of a person who had been shot.  Upon arrival, police were able to locate the victim who had succumbed to his injuries. A suspect was detained by police immediately upon their arrival.  Investigators ... (click for more)

Corker, Aide Help Gain Release Of Holts From Venezuelan Prison

 Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, welcomed the release of American citizen Josh Holt and his wife, Thamy, who have been detained in a Venezuelan prison for the last two years.   “I am pleased to join Senator Hatch and President Trump in announcing the release of Josh and Thamy Holt,” said Senator Corker. “Senator ... (click for more)

Conserving White Flight To Private, Public Secluded Schools Is Shameful

If you really care about the kids of Hamilton County’s most distressed schools, then you’ll take help where you can get it. The question on your mind isn’t which political label someone wears. Anyone who shifts attention away from the critical issues facing public education and toward political labels is not really committed to public education. Their support for equitable, quality ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: School Board Suckered

Just eight short days ago, Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd called a study on Hamilton’s County’s pseudo ‘socioeconomic desegregation’ farce as “the most far left, liberal document I have ever read. It does not represent the values of Hamilton County and I am insulted and disrespected by it." Then the School Board got so embarrassingly suckered  on Thursday  night ... (click for more)