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Don Lewis, Massachusetts Audubon Society,
Fox Island Wildlife Management Area

Two More Terrapins Found off Fox Island — 5 November 2000

The marsh grass south of Fox Island surrendered the remains of an old friend this morning.  Terrapin 780, a 15-year-old female of 18.7 centimeters carapace length, was found freshly dead.  She holds a special place in our research program as the first turtle to be netted by kayak.  Last seen on 18 July 1999 in Blackfish Creek between Lieutenant Island and Indian Neck, #780 then weighed a chunky 1124 grams and was described in the researcher's notes as "very healthy and energetic."

A second dead terrapin, a six-year-old male
of 12.1 centimeters carapace length, lay a few feet to the north.

As you slog deeper into the marsh approaching the main creek channels, salt grasses form a dense mask about four feet high and thick as a briar patch.  They not only obscure terrapin remains which may be trapped in their packed weave, but disguise sink holes and rivers of quick-mud beneath a curtain of straw.  Exhaustive search of this area must await winter tides to prune marsh grasses and flush shells closer to shore.  The count now stands at 14 dead diamondback terrapins recovered from the Fox Island Wildlife Management Area since 3 November.