Since the admission of eight new cold-stunned juvenile green sea turtles last December, we’ve been researching the nutritional value of various produce items in an effort to provide these turtles with foods that best resemble the omnivorous diet they would be consuming at this age in the wild. We began supplementing their daily fish diet with veggies such as romaine lettuce, bell peppers, and kale. The greens happily munched the veggies from newly designed PVC feeders that allowed them to feed off the bottom of their tank in the same way they would graze from a seagrass bed in the wild. Unfortunately, feeding this new produce-based diet to ten turtles on a daily basis was financially straining our resources. We decided to contact John Messinger, Manager at Earth Fare, a local health food supermarket in the West Ashley Windermere Shopping Center known for its selection of local and organic farm fresh fruits and vegetables. John had previously visited our Sea Turtle Hospital and was excited about supporting our efforts to rehabilitate endangered green sea turtles. Earth Fare is now providing us with a weekly donation of produce for our turtles! In addition to staples like romaine lettuce, our greens are now grazing on delicious dandelion greens, cabbage, gold beet leaves, and brussel sprouts on the stalk as seen on the photo below.
On behalf of the South Carolina Aquarium and our ten green sea turtles, we’d like to thank John, Matt Setter and Linda Helms from the produce department, as well as the rest of the Earth Fare crew for all their efforts to help us keep our sea turtles as healthy as possible while undergoing rehabilitation in our Sea Turtle Hospital. Be sure to check Earth Fare out online at http://www.earthfare.com/ and enjoy the video below!
Christi Hughes, Sea Turtle Biologist