Our turtle enrichment activities

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Here at Lampedusa Turtle Rescue Centre we offer different types of environmental enrichment to our long-term patients that reside in our large tanks of 15x3x1.5m. Our enrichment devices can be categorised into structural, mixed and food related (see below).

 

Environmental enrichment means that there is a change to the environment where the animal lives. This is put in place in order to produce a positive effect on the welfare and wellbeing of the animal. 

Structural:

  • Floating wood with a chain and weight

  • White pipes that are assembled in variable forms

  • Belly with synthetic grass

Mixed:

  • Tunnel

  • Keepnet with fish hidden inside

Enrichment devices change the physical environment of the turtle, providing different types of material, shadow, light areas, temperature and brightness gradients. It diversifies their environment and provides them with structures that allow them to exhibit more species typical behaviours, which is crucial to their survival following their release. Devices such as the tunnel mean that they are able to properly explore their environment and space. It can also promote curiosity, recreate natural living conditions, stimulate concentration and provides for more time consuming ways of feeding.

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Ice

One of our food related enrichment devices is freezing a variety of cut up fish in fresh water. This ice block is then given to the turtle in addition to their normal meal. This gives them the choice whether to first consume their normal food or to interact with the food enrichment. This extends the feeding experience and makes it more challenging for the turtle. 

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Orange pvc tubes

The use of PVC tubes to assist with feeding is another food related enrichment device that we use. The tubes have a split along their length which allows fish to be attached. These are then placed in the tank and sink to the bottom. The turtle can then choose whether to work for their meal by eating the fish attached to the tube or eat their meal as normal. This activity provides the turtles with mental stimulation and promotes problem solving.