So, this is my favorite turtle! He doesn’t even have a name – he’s just #201. (Well, now he’s actually #801, because of the way we number the babies, but he’ll always be 201 in my heart). He was the tiniest turtle incubated and hatched in our lab for the 2011 season: only 3.32 grams at hatching. So tiny and precious.
He’s nine months old now, and for the first time ever I can actually refer to him by his correct sex. (Most of the baby turtles are female, so I always call them all “she” until proven otherwise). But 201 turned out to be A BOY! Hahaha! I’ve just realized I can even post a picture of his internal boy parts; that’s the very last photo – taken through the endoscope of his gonads. (I hope he won’t be embarrassed by that). Here’s a time series to see how he grew over the past nine months:
Two months old:
Four months old:
Seven months old:
Nine months old (SO BIG):
The only sad thing? Since he’s a boy, after we release him next month (back into the lake where his mother lives), I will almost certainly never see him EVER AGAIN, because we only see the females when they come out to nest. Males stay in the pond pretty much all the time. OH BABY OF MY HEART, HOW I WILL MISS YOU! And no, I’m not crying about it. Not now. Although I probably will cry on release day. Don’t worry, there will be pictures of that, too. (Well, of the release. Maybe not of me crying).