Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Preliminary Studies with Alligator Snapping Turtles
Southwest Region, February 28, 2006
Print Friendly Version

The Tishomingo NFH is currently studying P.I.T. tag retention, growth, and behavior in varying water depths, and indoor and outdoor culture units.

Turtles selected to be P.I.T. tagged were 2-3 years old and weighed between 120-660 grams.  The P.I.T. tags were inserted just under the skin on the right inner thigh and the skin was closed with a tissue adhesive.

A preliminary investigation resulted in 95% tag retention approximately sixty days after turtles were released into a fenced earthen pond.  Additional tagged turtles were released into the pond for a 120-day tag retention study.  The turtles will be recovered from the pond around the end of March, 2006, and examined for tag retention.  Comparisons will be made with turtles held indoors during the same time period.

Staff are also monitoring differences in behavior and growth in turtles held indoors in shallow (1-4 inches) water and deep (16-20 inches).  Observations indicate that both groups prefer to be hidden underneath or near structure in the tanks.  In the deep water tanks, the 2-3 year old turtles actually climb the structure to reach the water surface instead of swimming.  The yearling turtles exhibit the same behavior, but have also been observed swimming and floating on the surface.  Comparisons of growth are just beginning.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State

Search by Region

US Fish and Wildlife Service footer