Study

Use of radio-telemetry and recapture to determine the success of head-started wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) in New York

  • Published source details Michell K. & Michell R.G. (2015) Use of radio-telemetry and recapture to determine the success of head-started wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta) in New York. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 10, 525-534.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Head-start wild-caught reptiles for release: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Relocate nests/eggs for artificial incubation: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Head-start wild-caught reptiles for release: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated study in 1994–2001 in an indoor enclosure in New York State, USA (Michell & Michell 2015) found that all head-started hatchling wood turtles Glyptemys insculpta survived at least one year in captivity prior to release and at least two years in the wild after release. In total, 11 of 11 head-started wood turtles survived one year in captivity and four of four survived two years in captivity. All turtles grew rapidly and uniformly while in captivity, with no signs of shell malformation. All 10 head-started juvenile wood turtles released into holding pens prior to their main release survived at least two years in the wild. Nine of 10 turtles were subsequently recaptured as sub-adults or adults (years were not provided) and one turtle was re-captured eight years after being released. The authors reported that no differences in movement behaviour after release were observed between one and two-year-old turtles. Wood turtle juveniles that were hatched from wild-collected eggs in 1994 (eight hatchlings), 1998 (3 hatchlings) and 1999 (4 hatchlings) and head-started indoors were released into holding pens in the wild after one or two years in captivity (six individuals were released as 1-year-olds and four as 2-year-olds). Turtles were placed in outdoor predator-proof plywood and cloth enclosures (size: 122 x 183 cm or 122 cm2) for four–six weeks before their main release. Turtles were radio tracked for 1–3 seasons and monitored on an ad hoc basis from then on (see original paper for details).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Relocate nests/eggs for artificial incubation: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated study in 1994–1999 in New York State, USA (Michell & Michell 2015) found that most wood turtle Glyptemys insculpta eggs collected from the wild and artificially incubated hatched successfully. In total, 15 of 18 (83%) artificially incubated wood turtle eggs hatched successfully (1994: 8 of 10 eggs; 1998: 3 of 3 eggs; 1999: 4 of 5 eggs). Wood turtle eggs were collected from wild nests in 1994 (10 eggs), 1998 (3 eggs) and 1999 (5 eggs). The authors noted that eggs were collected from nests that would otherwise have failed. Eggs were placed in dampened vermiculite (1:1 vermiculite: water by weight) and lightly covered with vermiculite in an airtight container, which was opened once a week, until hatching.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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