Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eclipse's First Live Crab Encounter

From what we’ve learned in the previous blog about Eclipse, the unique hybrid turtle has a lot to figure out when it comes to his diet. His head size and two prefrontal scutes are characteristic of a green sea turtle but his beak shape and lack of a serrated jaw are more in line with his maternal side, a loggerhead. Since arriving at the South Carolina Aquarium, hospital staff and volunteers have offered an array of greens to Eclipse, none of which he has been even slightly interested in eating. This past week we decided to test his loggerhead hunting skills by offering a live blue crab and were we ever surprised!

As you can see in the video, Eclipse exhibits loggerhead behavior in his enthusiasm for blue crabs. He had no problems eating the claws but getting the body in his mouth was a challenge. Only once did he get the whole crab into his mouth but didn't seem to have the jaw strength to crush the shell. So the big question is, as he grows, will he have the head size and jaw muscles to consume the hard shelled prey that he is obviously interested in eating?
Whitney Daniel
Sea Turtle Biologist