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Posts Tagged "turtles"

Extinction Countdown

Alligator Snapping Turtles, the Dinosaurs of the Turtle World, Are Actually 3 at-Risk Species

alligator snapping turtle

Alligator snapping turtles look pretty intimidating. These massive, prehistoric-looking reptiles can reach more than 66 centimeters in length and weigh more than 100 kilograms. Add in their unusual ridged carapaces, finger-long claws and sharp, beaklike mouths and you’ve got an impressive package. But in truth, alligator snapping turtles aren’t all that aggressive. They tend to [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Massacred Elephants, Found Frogs and Other Links from the Brink

Dzanga Bai elephants

Elephants, turtles, grizzly bears and some of the world’s rarest frogs are among the endangered species in the news this week. Worst News of the Week: Armed gunmen entered the Dzanga Bai World Heritage Site in the violence-plagued Central African Republic this week and slaughtered at least 26 elephants. The site is known as the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

How Poachers Stole 10 Percent of an Entire Tortoise Species…and What Happened Next

ploughshare tortoise

On Friday, March 15, authorities in Thailand intercepted two wildlife smugglers trying to carry hundreds of endangered tortoises through Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Among the animals recovered were 54 critically endangered ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) from Madagascar. The entire wild population for this species is estimated at just 400 to 600 tortoises, meaning this seizure represented [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Links from the Brink (March 30, 2013)

slender loris

Ivory smugglers, manatees, Iranian cheetahs, slow lorises and Britain’s beloved hedgehogs are in the news this week. Ethics and Endangered Species: A new study accuses wildlife photographers of unethical behavior when it comes to the slender loris (either Loris tardigradus or L. lydekkerianus). The photographers reportedly convinced tribesmen (who consider the species to be taboo) [...]

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Extinction Countdown

5 Turtles from Nearly Extinct Species Fly Home to Hong Kong

golden coin turtles

Asia’s turtles and tortoises are in an extinction crisis. Few species embody that more than the critically endangered golden coin turtle (Cuora trifasciata), which is so valued in the illegal pet trade and for its use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that a single specimen can fetch $25,000 or more on the black market. The [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Satellites to Track Rare Royal Turtle in Cambodia [Video]

A member of one of the world’s most endangered turtle species is being tracked by satellites as it swims the rivers of Cambodia, helping scientists to learn more about how it navigates and the threats it faces in its native waters. With a satellite transmitter glued to her shell, the female southern river terrapin (Batagur [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Do PCBs Still Threaten Humans? A Turtle Study Suggests They Might

Decades after polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—once commonly used in pesticides, electrical transformers and coolants—were banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the toxic chemicals continue to linger in our country’s soil and water. A new study shows how exposure to these PCBs can weaken turtle bone and shell density and suggests they could also continue to [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Enormous, Endangered, Epileptic Loggerhead Turtle Gets MRI Brain Scan

loggerhead turtle

How do you find out why a 1.5-meter-long endangered sea turtle is having epileptic fits? The first step is to find an MRI machine big enough to accommodate her not-so-ladylike girth. On June 25, “Snorkel,” a 68-kilogram loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), traveled more than 500 kilometers from her home at National Marine Aquarium (NMA) [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Dramatic rescue of a century-old turtle in Vietnam could help save species from extinction

A giant softshell turtle known as Cu Rua that has been living in Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam, for more than a century is one of the last four members of its critically endangered species, Rafetus swinhoei. The freshwater animal weighs about 200 kilograms and is worshiped as a deity that protects the city, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Turtles in trouble: New report identifies the 25 most endangered turtle species

Critically endangered Burmese roofed turtle (Batagur trivittata)

Asian appetites are rapidly driving the world’s tortoises and freshwater turtles toward extinction, and some species might only be savable through costly and labor-intensive conservation efforts, according to both a new report and speakers at a workshop about conserving Asian turtles. “It’s going to take some intense management, both to protect wild populations and manage [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Turtles that eat bone, rocks and soil, and turtles that mine

Jason-Noble-snapper-2-600-px-tiny-April-2014-Tetrapod-Zoology

I have had extensive turtle guilt of late – that is, there just haven’t been enough turtles on Tet Zoo for a while… by which I mean, there haven’t been any. But fortune smiles on the thing that it smiles on, and a few neat photos have recently fallen into my proverbial lap, encouraging me [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

A very quick history of turtles

And all of this will be elaborated on, in time: this was meant to be the briefest and simplest of introductions.  For previous Tet Zoo articles on turtles, see… Hard-shelled sea turtles and a diet of glass Gilbert White’s pet tortoise, and what is ‘grey literature’ anyway? Giant African softshells – wow! Giraffe-necked giant tortoises [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Terrifying sex organs of male turtles

Of the many unlikeable and inaccurate stereotypes maintained about animals in popular consciousness, among the most frustrating is what I term “old man turtle”. This is the idea that turtles (by which I mean, all members of Testudines) are like decrepit, weak, bony little old men housed inside a box. It’s not fair, and it’s [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

In case you forget, softshell turtles are insanely weird

I wanted to use this photo because it’s weird and interesting, not because I have anything particularly insightful to say about softshell turtles. The animal shown here is a Florida softshell Apalone ferox that I photographed in captivity earlier in 2011. Turtles of many kinds look odd when they adopt resting or basking poses; this [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

The Turtle with Human Eyes

turtle vision Trachemys Side view when pitched up

At first glance, most eyes look the same. There’s a small opening through which light passes. That light goes through the transparent liquid behind the lens and strikes the retina, a thin film of light-sensitive nerve cells that line the back of the eye. But there’s actually a great deal more to vision than that. [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Monday Pets: Cold Blooded Cognition

turtle igloo.JPG

She: “What are you writing about?” Me: “Cognition in cold-blooded animals.” She: “Hot.” Most people who study cognition focus on mammals or birds. But I hope I’ve convinced you that other animals are important to investigate as well. One research group at the University of Vienna likes cold-blooded critters. Turtles and lizards and such. They [...]

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