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

Maryland High Schoolers Rescue Distressed Hatchling
— 21 May 2001

Students from Wooten High School in Maryland visited Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary this morning on a field trip. Being more than 500 miles from the Free State didn’t stop these kids from rescuing Maryland’s signature critter: a diamondback terrapin.  Walking the picturesque Goose Pond Trail along the South Wellfleet marsh, they spotted a dust enshrouded hatchling blindly crawling along the path.  She measured a mere 2.8 centimeters long and weighed in at a severely dehydrated 4 grams.  Her eyes were sealed shut by desiccation and Terry, as the students named her, was in serious distress and easy prey to a host of predators if the elements themselves didn’t snatch her first.  Without their intervention, Terry didn’t stand a chance.

Back in the lab, Terry has been integrated into the recovery terrarium with Knotch.  She soaked in fresh water under a heat lamp and was able to open her eyes to inspect her new environment.  After less than two hours, she left the wading pool and has begun exploring the rest of the tank.