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.


Top 6 Places To View Fall Leaves In Gatlinburg

Fall is upon us. And that means there’s no better place to be than Gatlinburg for the changing of the leaves. Surrounded by Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a stroll through downtown Gatlinburg is the perfect segue to fall leaf-peeping pleasure. In fact, the Smokies are home to more than 100 species of trees, 80 percent of which are deciduous, making for a myriad of color this ... (click for more)

“Monster Fish” Exhibition Opens At The Tennessee Aquarium On Saturday

Dr. Zeb Hogan, University of Nevada Aquatic Ecologist and National Geographic Fellow, has made a career out of collecting fish stories. He’s been on a quest to find, study and protect the world’s remaining freshwater fish that reach epic proportions. They’re not only BIG Fish, they’re MONSTERS! In spite of their size, most of these behemoth species are rapidly declining in the wild. ... (click for more)

Naked Man Involved In Collision On Highway 111 Taken Into Custody

A naked man who was involved in a wreck on Highway 111 late Friday morning is facing numerous charges. At approximately 11:40 a.m., Hamilton County Sheriff deputies started to receive numerous reports that a vehicle was driving erratically on U.S. Highway 111 and that the driver was stopping his vehicle and at one point got out of his vehicle in a naked state. According to ... (click for more)

City Council Incumbents Anderson, Gilbert, Freeman, Hakeem Pick Up Papers Seeking Re-Election

Four City Council incumbents have picked up papers for the March 7 city election. The latest getting qualifying petitions are Russell Gilbert in District 5, Chris Anderson in District 7 and Yusuf Hakeem in District 9. Moses Freeman in District 8 picked up earlier. Anthony Byrd is a possible challenger. Former District 7 Councilman Manny Rico has already qualified. Others ... (click for more)

Chattanooga's Citizens Are The Best

Today, when I finished my shift, my wife and I had a rare kid-free time where she and I could enjoy a nice quiet dinner. So, when I left my extra job and she left her job, we met at a neat local place in St. Elmo. She and I had been looking forward to and planning this dinner all day. You see, between my work with the city of Chattanooga, my many hours of extra jobs, and our responsibilities ... (click for more)

My Garden In October

Just when you thought the weather would never break, the heat was on low this morning as Tide and I stepped from the house to study our October garden. Falling leaves and the dog’s dirty tennis balls aside, let’s praise the Lord that, as a new month dawns, we are still blessed with orchids and onions galore. The dog asks that I include the fact October is National Pet Adoption month ... (click for more)