Saved From Sandy
Contact: Liz Davis, 410-458-6923
Berlin, Maryland - On Friday, October 26, 2012, before the onset of high winds and waves from Hurricane Sandy, biological technicians and staff from the Marine Animal Rescue at the National Aquarium in Baltimore excavated a loggerhead sea turtle nest on the north end of Assateague Island National Seashore. The nest contained two live hatchlings and 160 potentially viable eggs, which had been incubating in the hot sand since the end of July.
Although the loggerhead turtle nest was excavated just days before hurricane Sandy came ashore, the nest excavation was already scheduled for that day. "At the end of each nest gestation," Bill Hulslander, Chief of Resources Management said, "we excavate the nest to collect data. Imagine how excited we were when we dug up the nest to count unhatched eggs and found live turtles. This is one of the first viable nests on the Maryland side of Assateague Island National Seashore."
The entire nest, including the live turtles, were carefully packed in sand and taken back to the National Aquarium in Baltimore where they will continue to care for the hatchlings and incubate the nest. To date, one hatchling has died from a bacterial infection and the other hatchling is receiving antibiotics as a precaution. The remaining eggs will undergo ultrasound testing to determine if the turtles inside are still alive. The surviving hatchlings will be released from their natal sands in the spring of 2013 when ocean waters warm.
Did You Know?
Prickly pear cactus is native to dry, sandy areas on Assateague Island. American Indians applied peeled pads to wounds and drank pad tea for lung ailments. Fruits were eaten fresh or dried for winter use.