TURTLE CARE PROCEDURES
Objective To ensure that marine reptiles have a care regime that encourages rapid recovery, supports growth in juveniles and assists with behaviours necessary for survival in the wild.
- All husbandry requirements should be covered in sea turtle in training.
- Each marine reptile should have a husbandry plan.
- Sea turtles are very prone to habituation to people. All care should be taken to minimise social interactions with humans, and natural behaviours should be allowed to develop.
Objective: to check the health of marine reptiles undergoing rehabilitation so that concerns can be promptly identified and managed. The type and frequency of monitoring will vary with the species, age and stage of development, type of injury or illness and required treatment.
Monitoring a marine reptile must entail:
− determining foraging ability and food intake levels
− noting quantity and quality of scats
− determining swimming mobility and diving ability
− looking for changes in behaviour.
- Sea turtles in intensive care must be monitored at least twice a day to observe the progress for healing wounds and barnacle die-off.
- Hatchlings (under 12 centimetres) must be weighed once a week unless it will hinder recovery of healing wounds such as a break on the carapace or major injury to a flipper.
- Sea turtles in pre-release care must be discretely checked during feeding to determine feeding levels and to check for normal behaviours.
- A sea turtle being prepared for release must be observed daily, from a distance, to determine if it is physically and behaviourally ready. (Releasing of any animal in care is at the discretion of the General Manager only).
- Wildlife rehabilitation providers must monitor the temperature within enclosures containing thermal support (e.g. in-line or immersible heaters) at least once a day to ensure that appropriate temperatures are maintained.
- Antibiotics must be given by or under the guidance of a veterinarian and with extreme caution due to the spread of antibiotic resistance and harm to wild populations.