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

One Release, One Capture — 30 May 2001

Itís no life of leisure spending time in the recovery lab.  We expect each hatchling to return to the wild in better condition than when it arrived.  Normally that process involves heat and hydration and ample safe space to exercise its limbs in swimming and crawling.  The baby terrapin discovered in a Lieutenant Island basement yesterday took exercise to the extreme, doing one limb (hand) push-ups, Jack Palance style.  After such a feat of physical prowess, he earned the name “J.P.” and also won his release into the nursery marsh off Turtle Point this morning.

Temperatures remained quite cool for the end of May and a stiff northwest wind continued to churn Blackfish Creek into an inky mix.  Few turtles were observed flowing with the noon low and only one was captured when the tide reached full ebb.

Terrapin 1076 is a good size, mature male.  He measured 12.6 centimeters carapace length and weighed a hefty 330 grams.  Like many of our recent captures, he had mud caked inside his frontal cavity and along his rear side.  He also had light green algae rimming his rear marginals and under his chin, too.  All indications seem to point to a delayed or stuttered start for the Wellfleet Bay terrapin population in 2001.  We need to wait for the kick-off of nesting as a second benchmark to gauge 2001.