Mammal, reptile research on Caribbean Sint Eustatius island

This video says about itself:

Green Turtle Tracking. St. Eustatius

12 May 2012

This program is brought to you by GEBE and the Barson Foundation.

Working together with St. Eustatius Stenapa to protect and study the movements of Green Turtles at Zeelandia Beach. Satellite device attached in order to track the almost extinct Green Turtle population.

The Dutch mammal society reports today there will be new research about mammals of Sint Eustatius island in the Caribbean. Much is still unknown about this.

The researchers hope to find out which bat species live on the island. Some bats will be provided with transmitters to find out more about their lives.

As far as people know, there are no native rodent species on Sint Eustatius. The researchers hope to find out which exotic rat and mice species, brought by ships, live here. Camera traps will also try to record other introduced species, like goats and mongoose.

The research will be from 2 October-18 October.

A blog about earlier biological research on Sint Eustatius is here.

Conservation of the herpetofauna on the Dutch Windward Islands: St. Eustatius, Saba, and St. Maarten: here.

Reptiles and amphibians in the botanical garden

Eastern collared lizard, 7 September 2015

This photo shows an eastern collared lizard, a species originally from North America. We saw this individual on 7 September 2015, at the big AquaHortus exhibition of aquariums and terrariums. Again, all photos in this blog post are macro lens photos.

There were quite some frogs in the terrariums in the botanical garden entrance building, including Dendrobates tinctorius, and Lepidobatrachus laevis.

Eastern collared lizard, on 7 September 2015

One story higher was a terrarium with three eastern collared lizards.

And a terrarium with a central bearded dragon from Australia.

Indian star tortoise, 7 September 2015

We continued to a hothouse. Near the entrance, a terrarium with this young Indian star tortoise.

Nearby, some relatives: Hermann’s tortoise; European pond turtle; red-bellied short-necked turtle; and leopard tortoise.

Also in this hothouse, colourful amphibians. Including oriental fire-bellied toad.

And spot-legged poison frog. Not far from a panther chameleon terrarium.

Mission golden-eyed tree frog, 7 September 2015

Also, a terrarium with some Mission golden-eyed tree frogs.

Dutch Orchid Society terrarium

The Dutch Orchid Society had a terrarium of its own at the exhibition.

Poison dart frog, 7 September 2015

It contained not only various orchid species, but also a few poison dart frogs, like this one.

Stay tuned, as there will be another blog post, about botanical garden plants.

Loggerhead turtle beached in the Netherlands

This video says about itself:

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Hatchling Rescue

23 July 2014

Words cannot describe…

I came across some baby sea turtle tracks one morning at the refuge and noticed many of the tracks went up into the dune instead of directly to the water. A quick search revealed several hatchlings floundering in the dune vegetation.

As the acting refuge biologist, I am permitted to handle these protected turtles for purpose of rescue. This was an amazing opportunity for me to examine these amazing creatures up close and personal, a rare and priceless occurrence.

These animals are protected, please do not approach them in the wild.

Music by Dan-O at

Translated from the Dutch RAVON herpetologists:

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Recently a loggerhead turtle washed ashore at the Hondsbossche seawall near Camperduin. This year already two loggerheads washed up on our beaches. Up to now, this is the tenth individual ever found in the Netherlands. …

On July 27 Ber van Perlo while watching birds found a dead turtle on the beach at the Hondsbossche seawall near Camperduin and De Putten. It was a not yet adult loggerhead (Caretta caretta) with an estimated carapace length of 55 to 60 centimeters. Adult specimens have a carapace length of 83 to 124 centimeters. …

That a loggerhead turtle washed ashore in the Netherlands is very special! The first documentation of a loggerhead in the Netherlands was in 1707. This is the 10th individual:

1707 Wijkmeer, Beverwijk (IJmuiden)
1894 Ouddorp, Goeree-Overflakkee
1927 Scheveningen
1954 Noordwijk
1959 Noordwijk
1998 Flushing
2007 Vlieland
2008 Groote Keeten
2015 Katwijk
2015 Hondsbossche Zeewering, Petten

Swimming with snapping turtles, video

This video from Canada says about itself:

15 July 2015

Swimming with large snapping turtles in Parry Sound. When approached slowly, these creatures don’t show any aggression and almost no fear. These two were looking for food and checking out the camera as I swam around with them for hours.

Good Florida sea turtle news

This video from the USA says about itself:

Baby Turtles Being Born on the Beach

13 September 2013

Leatherback turtles hatching and marching towards the ocean in Vero Beach, Florida.

From NPR in the USA:

Florida Sea Turtles Stage Amazing Comeback

July 13, 2015 4:42 PM ET

When scientists first started counting the nests of green sea turtles in one area in the 1980s, they found fewer than 40 nests. In their last check, they counted almost 12,000.


In Florida, sea turtles are making a comeback. The green turtle is leading the way. It’s a species that a few decades ago was close to disappearing from the state, and the scope of its recovery is virtually unprecedented for an endangered species in the United States. As Amy Green of member station WMFE reports, the gains are most apparent at a refuge on Florida’s east coast. It’s the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Melbourne Beach, and it’s one of the most significant sea turtle nesting sites in the world.

AMY GREEN, BYLINE: A sea turtle emerges from the waves alone, in darkness. At 3 feet long and 300 pounds, her barnacle-encrusted body is cumbersome on land, accustomed to weightlessness.

HEATHER STAPLETON: They look like an ancient dark behemoth.

GREEN: That’s Heather Stapleton of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, a research and conservation organization for the reptiles that are as old as dinosaurs.

STAPLETON: She comes up out of the surf, and she’s there. She lifts her head up a couple of times, usually, in the air to take breaths and kind of feel her way around.

GREEN: She finds a nesting site well above the tide. Her breathing is labored as her flippers fling sand over her eggs, concealing them from predators during their two-month incubation. The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1991 to preserve this 20-mile beach on Florida’s east coast for nesting sea turtles like this one. It’s working.

LOU EHRHART: As a scientist, I have to be a little bit careful about how I throw the word miracle around, but yes, I agree that, in this case, it is really quite extraordinary.

GREEN: Lou Ehrhart is a University of Central Florida researcher who has counted sea turtle nests in this refuge since the mid-’80s. He says the green turtle‘s recovery is especially astounding.

EHRHART: In those first three years, we had 30 or 40 green turtle nests, and the summer before last, we had 11,840. That’s just unheard of.

GREEN: Statewide, sea turtles are thriving. Nearly all of the nation’s sea turtle nests are here in Florida. Most credit the Endangered Species Act, which brought sea turtles under protection in 1978. Sea turtles don’t begin reproducing until their early 20s. That’s why researchers thinks their populations multiply every couple of decades and why we’re seeing a boom now.

Ehrhart also points to state protections of Florida beaches aimed at discouraging development and preserving them for nesting. This is important because while sea turtles can migrate thousands of miles, they almost always return to the same beach to nest.

Sea turtles still face many hurdles. In the United States, all sea turtles remain threatened or endangered. In the Pacific Ocean, leatherback populations are plunging. Back at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, this nesting sea turtle is disappearing into the waves.

STAPLETON: Yeah, now she’s going faster.

GREEN: Oh, such relief for her to be floating and weightless again.

She might nest five more times during the summer, laying nearly a thousand eggs. But most baby sea turtles never reach adulthood because of predators and other dangers like dehydration under the sun. She never will know what becomes of them because sea turtles never come back to their nests.

More than half the world’s sea turtles have ingested plastic or other human rubbish, a new study has found: here.

Sea turtle’s view of the Great Barrier Reef, video

This video says about itself:

9 July 2015

The Great Barrier Reef is home to almost 6000 species. Thanks to GoPro, here’s what the journey through it looks like for one of them: a turtle’s eye view of the Reef

In order to find out more about the level of pollution affecting turtles within the Great Barrier Reef, WWF Australia are working on an innovative project in Queensland with the support of partners Banrock Station Wines Environmental Trust, James Cook University, University of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, State and Commonwealth government agencies, Indigenous rangers and local community groups. As part of that project, the opportunity arose to very carefully fit a small GoPro camera to a turtle, to better understand the post-release behavior of tagged green turtles. The result is this amazing video.

A full ban on dumping in the Great Barrier Reef should happen in a matter of months. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee voted to maintain pressure on Australia to deliver on its promise to restore the health of the reef. Thank you to our 500,000 WWF supporters who spoke up to defend the reef!

Credit: Dr Ian Bell / Christine Hof