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.

Tennessee Aquarium Has Underwater Pumpkin Carving On Saturdays

Tennessee Aquarium guests can see underwater pumpkin carving demonstrations each Saturday at 11 a.m. throughout October in the River Journey building. Costumed SCUBA divers will make weekend appearances for the rest of the month.  Lots of costumed divers will be seen during the AquaScarium family Halloween Party at the Aquarium. Pirates, mermaids, and super heroes will be ... (click for more)

Ghostly Gathering At Historic Rugby Set For Oct. 22 And 29

Historic Rugby’s annual “Ghostly Gathering” celebration will take place on Oct. 22 and 29 (Saturdays) this year at 6 p.m. Eastern. The yearly Halloween-season celebration is a favorite among village visitors, who enjoy a homemade chili dinner with dessert at the Historic Rugby Community Building, followed by a ghost movie, then candle and oil lamp tours of several historic ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Lacie Stone Were At Swanky New York City Hotel While Bobby Stone Was Plying The River

Mayor Andy Berke's top advisor Lacie Stone accompanied him on a trip to New York City on April 12-13 and they ended up at a swanky spot where Ms. Stone's husband, Bobby, had taken her before. They sat at the Stones' favorite table.   Bobby Stone, who has accused his wife of having an affair with the mayor, has said that Lacie Stone told him that she and the mayor kissed ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)