Weight Watchers for Kame and Kachua


The Girls

In our quest to make sure that our head starts were of a good size to be released into the wild, it appears that the turtles might be a bit overweight as a result.  

Dr. Murray from Tufts Wildlife Center writes this report about Kame:

We took x-rays on Kame yesterday and I don’t see any abnormalities in the bones of the leg. I do see that she does not use that leg the same way she uses the left. On examining her, the most notable problem is that she is–sorry, there’s no other way to put it and I don’t want to offend–obese. Her carapace is also slightly mis-shapen toward the tail end. 

I don’t know the reason for the lameness/decreased use of the right front leg at this point. Is she very active in her enclosure? It is possible that she simply twisted it and caused a soft tissue injury in the leg and is reluctant to use it because it is sore.

Sam was asking about the UV light because the light is important for normal calcium metabolism and growth of bone, including the shell. The abnormality of her carapace could possibly be related to not having enough exposure to UV light. It could also be due to her simply growing too fast. The carapace is not a huge problem for her, but it is good that you have replaced the light.

At this point, we can hold on to her, treat her with some anti-inflammatory medication for the leg, and start her on a diet and see how she does with the leg.  We definitely need to get her weight down. Do you have other turtles, and, if so, are they all as, well, round as Kame? 

So your job in this blog is to develop a plan to get Kame and Kachua’s weight down.  What should they be eating?  How often should they be eating?  How can we get them to exercise more?  What types of experiences would get them to be ready for the wild?


Posted on May 8, 2012, in Blanding's turtles. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. I think that we should start to feed them less, it is one of the only was this is going to work. Maybe we should start feeding them every 2 days or use less fat food. I think that we should put in more objects so they have to swim and exercise more to get to where they are going, we could also have a machine that makes wave motions so they have to swim against the waves. They would exercise more if we do that.

  2. I think that we should only feed them the food that they would get in the wild, like worms, grubs, and crayfish. We should limit them to only a few other things a day, so when the time comes for them to go into the wild, then they will be more prepared for what is coming.

  3. ec13 formally ec7

    To make Kame and Kachua lose some weight, I think that we should spread out all of the rocks and the log to the edges of the tank far apart so if they ever wants to go anywhere, they have to swim a lot farther than they had to before. Another thing that we could do to make them lose some weight is feed them for a limited amount of time and not until they want to stop. Also, when we are feeding them for this time, we should only feed them a limited amount of worms or a limited amount of food. I think that this will get them used to the wild because they will have to swim around a huge swamp and they may not find a lot of food so they have to be ready for that kind of thing.

  4. I think we should use like a hamster wheel so when the turtles are eating whoever is feeding them could give them food every time they did at least lets say 3 walks around the wheel. But we don’t want to work them to hard so you could maybe give them 2 pellets every 3 laps or 4 laps. Maybe we could feed them and at them end of the feed we make them walk about a track (not a human track maybe a turtle track) so them burn off all of the calories like it they are swimming or running (most likely running). I think they should eat different things everyday but really low in calories. So they don’t go over their weight. Maybe tiny shrimp and worms so they are eating just enough calories to burn off later. But we have to stop with the pellets and give them food that they might find in the wild when we release them. I think they should eat once a day (no snacks) so they have just enough time to burn the calories out while swimming around the pool. But maybe just a few worm or etc. So they don’t over do it. We can make they exercise more by not giving them food until they exercise more. And if they don’t exercise we would give them a little food until they start exercising. But we would have to give them some food at the beginning so they don’t get cramps or headaches (they probably don’t get those but we still have to feed them before they exercise), but only a little food. One experience we would do is feed them things they would get in the wild instead of what we are feeding them because they wouldn’t find that. So there is my Blanding’s Turtle Blog.

  5. 1. I think that although Kame hasn’t been eating much live/frozen food, we should make sure not to give either of them turtle pellets anymore. Since turtle pellets are used to make them bigger, and we don’t want them to get any bigger, we shouldn’t give them anymore pellets. What they should be eating, is live food. For Kachua, I think we should cut down on the blood worms, since she won’t find frozen ones in the wild. What I mean by live food is worms and crayfish (if we can get some).

    2. I think that we should feed them once a day. If you think about it, in the wild, they might not even be able to eat once a day. I think we should make it more realistic to how it will be when they are released. On the weekends, I think they should be fed less than week days, and only once each day.

    3. To get them to exercise more, maybe we could have them follow a piece of food. What I mean is like drag a worm around the tank and have them follow it, and once they have gone around a couple times, give them the worm.

    4. One experience that will get them ready for the wild, is giving them food in their tank that they have to look for. We could put, like a worm underneath the log and see them find it (to avoid any fighting) we will try and do one turtle at a time.

  6. I think that Kachua and Kame should be eating only things from the wild now because they are used to the pellets but in the wild they are going to have to eat and catch the food on their own in the wild. We aren’t just be going to find them and feed them pellets.

    I think they should be eating once a day for about 10- 15 minutes because we don’t want them to eat a lot because in the wild it isn’t an all you can eat buffet like what we do to them. They should only eat what is there for them to eat so after about 10 minutes we should stop giving them new food.

    They can exercise more if we could get them a bigger feeding tank then put the turtle on one side and the food on the other so they have to swim for their food instead of just having to reach their heads up and swallowing. Another thing is, put the food on a big rock and have them climb to it so they get more exercise. Also, we could maybe put fewer rocks in their tank so they have more room to swim instead of having all these rocks in the way or resting places.

    Experiences we could have them do to get them ready for the wild is get live creatures and make an obstacle course for our turtles to get the animals so it is kind of like the wild. For example Moore’s Swamp is very branchy and hard to move through, so that might help them.

  7. ec 15 (formally ec16)

    1. I think, to make Kame and even Kachua lose weight we should not give them any pellets. We should give them live food, which will probably be healthier and it will prepare them for when we release them into the wild. Maybe once in while we should give them a few pellets as treat, but otherwise I think live food is the best.

    2. I think we should feed them mostly once a day. Also I think we should feed them more towards the afternoon, because if we give it to them in the morning there is a lot of time till
    they get their next meal. If we feed them more towards the afternoon they might not feel such a sudden change. This is not how it is going to be in the wild. It will not shower pellets. So we need to wake them up from this “dream” and prepare them for the real.

    3. To get them to exercise, I think we should take away the logs, and replace them bigger rocks. The reason I say that is because they always tend to hide under the logs and they rarely ever come out so if there are no logs to hide under, they will most likely swim around more.

    4. I think that we should dump mud and dirt into the tank so it is more “swampish”. Also we should hide the food (in the big tank, not the mini ones), because that is what is going to happen in the wild.

  8. 1) Kame and Kachua should mainly be eating worms and grubs that we find outside because these foods are close to what the turtles will be eating in the wild and are not as full of calories as pellets. If the pellets are causing the obesity problem then we should only feed them the pellets if they haven’t been eating anything for a day or two. Also, only a couple days a week we should feed them the brine shrimp and the bloodworms.
    2) The turtles should only be eating once a day with no afternoon snacks. Another thing we could do is to have them eat for a set amount of time e.g. twenty minutes.
    3) To get the turtles to exercise more we could have them in a very long tank and when they move forward we can put something in back of them so they can’t go backwards. Also we could have the tank very warm so they move around more.
    4) To get Kame and Kachua ready for the wild we could put the in an unheated tank with mud and sticks. The tank could have worms and things like that so they will get used to hunting for their food in muddy water.

  9. First of all, we definitely shouldn’t feed them turtle pellets anymore. Turtle pellets are supposed to make the turtles bigger so that they aren’t as easy to eat and have a bigger chance of defending themselves in the wild, but our turtles are TOO big. We should mostly empty out the tank except for maybe a few plants and the rocks. The rocks should probably be spread apart and not in a spot that either Kame or Kachua would get stuck in. I think that we could put a few worms in the tank and let Kame and Kachua catch them. Maybe we could also start feeding them just in the tank, not in the mini feeding tanks, and scatter their food all around the tank. That would make it a little bit more gross to clean out the tank, though. We should also do things to their tank to get them ready for the wild. As much as I think mud would make it REALLY hard to clean out the turtle tank, it might actually help so that they get used to it. One last thing that we could to for them is have a worm or something and dangle it above their heads and then move it around the tank. We shouldn’t hold on to it for too long, because then they would learn not to trust us. I’m not sure if trusting us is a good thing or a bad thing, though, because then they might get too trusting… 😉

  10. I think that weight watchers for Kame and Kachua is a great idea but we will be releasing them soon so it might not matter that much. I think that the best thing that we can do is only feed them live food because that is what they will be eating in the wild and we should give them time to walk around the classroom because in the wild they have a much larger habitat than a small tank. I think that we should also decrees the amount of food we give the turtles because not so much kachua but kame will have a much harder time finding food in the wild. It is really good that we can help the turtles lose weight and prepare them for the wild all in one!

  11. ec10 (formerly ec4)

    I think that the turtles should be eating only live food, that is not cut up or changed in any way so that they will be gaining just as much as they would be in the wild and studies say that that is 1/4 the amount and then add an exercizing place where they chase the food to get it and so they would loose weight that way as well.

  12. I think we should feed them live food from now on and see which live food is their favorite, then give them that as a snack instead of the pellets that make them obese and smell like skunk bathed in mud. I think we could get them a bigger tank so they can swim around more to exercise. Another thing we could do is we could get a tank, put it in the middle of the room, and put leaves and sticks in it so it would be like when they are on land in the wild or on the shore of a lake or pond in the wild. I think the “Land in a tank” would also help them get ready for the wild.

  13. I think for exercising that the turtles should walk around the room or our a current in their tank so they have to swim against it. I think that they should be fed once or twice a day now. And that we should be feeding them only live foods like crayfish and actual fish.

  14. ec21 (formally ec17)

    I think that for Kame and Kachua to lose some weight, they need to stop eating pellets. Pellets are high in calories, they can’t be found in the wild and they turtles don’t need to go through much work to get them. They should only be eating live food like worms and crayfish. We could even give them some small fish and see if they can catch them. One idea for exercise is they can do what Kachua did in the classroom on Thursday. They can walk around the classroom. I saw Kachua walk back and forth along the walls of the classroom as if she was running (or walking) laps. While she was walking, she stepped on a magazine. The magazine had a plastic covering and since it was very slippery, as she moved her legs she never actually moved (sort of like somebody on a treadmill). If she walks on plastic with a worm right in from of her, Kame may be able to lose some weight. To get them ready for the wild, we could put them in a different habitat for a few days and see how they do. The habitat would simulate Moore’s Swamp better than their tank does. It would have some water, but not nearly as much as they do in their tank. It would be enriched with worms and have a few crayfish (unless one of the turtles is scared of the crayfish like Lynn-D was).

  15. Weight watching plan for Kame and Kachua: To begin over a couple of days I have evaluated some ways to lose weight for turtles. The first way for the turtles to lose weight is to bring them outside I have a turtle and we give him these things called weed walks where he can pretty much eat the kind of things they would in the wild. The second way is feeding them less that means no after school snacks! And only feeding them once at after lunch time. The third way is to get them to have calcium bones. These bones float and they have a lot of calcium in them. The fourth way is to give them fish and ping pong balls to push around there tank and with the fish the chase them around. I f we got a larger tank and or a kiddy pool we could put them in there with some water and the fish then it would be a challenge to get the fish. My last suggestion is to give them lettuce and vegetables, fruits and Edible aquatic plants.

  16. To keep the weight down on the turtles, I think that we should feed them live food. This will help make sure that they know how to catch real food. Maybe the turtles, I think should just eat twice a day. Make sure they do get food but not too much. I think we should get them running like we did today. Outside we should close a medium space of and everyday take out the turtles and put them in the area to crawl around.

  17. These are some suggestions to keep Kame’s and Kachua’s weight down. To keep their weight down, we should try and feed them about only live food. Live food is not as fattening as pellets so they won’t gain as much weight, plus some live good they have to catch which is making them work to get their food.
    I think that Kame and Kachua should eat once a day because if you feed them more than once a day, they will become fat. That is why I think we should only feed them once a day.
    A way we can get them to exercise more is to put like a miniature current from say a fan and have it in the water so that they would have to use extra force to swim. That would force them to exercise more so they can lose weight.
    I think that experiences that will get them ready for the wild are feeding them live food and making them swim for their food, not just having it put right in front of them. That being said, we should perhaps hide the food in the tank so that they have to find it.

  18. My idea is that we put a pellet on the floor and they could try to get it like today but without the pellets. So that they get food and exercise.

  19. My idea is that we put live food on the floor and they could try to get it like today, but without the pellets. So that they get food while they exercise. We would feed them once a day.Feeding the food from the wild is a way to get them ready. Experiences that would get them ready for the wild are, making a habitat more like what they will have in the tank. Having a different tank could also give them better exercise that would help them lose weight.

  20. 1. I think that Kame and Kachua should be eating live meals instead of pellets. I believe that the pellets have more calories than the live food we give them. Also, we used the pellets to make the turtles bigger and stronger. Now we need to keep them active and get their weight down. I think that Kachua should eat blood worms but occasionally, however, not as much as we give her now because she won’t find them in the wild. I think we should give her live worms and if we can crayfish. For Kame I think she should be eating live worms and crayfish. She should have a slightly different amount of food than Kachua because she is “ chubbier “ than Kachua and she is a smaller turtle so she might need a smaller amount of food.

    2. I think that they should eat about once a day because in the wild it all matters on what they can find in the day. Also, because of their weight it would be better. On the weekends I think they should eat less than on the weekdays to keep them fit.

    3. The turtles should be exercising by walking like on some type of running thing. They should be doing that about 20 minutes each day. Also, they could exercise by finding their food on their own like they would do in the wild.

  21. Kame and Kachua should be eating only live food. I think that the pellets fatten them up a bit more. We could give them mealworms, bloodworms, (which we already have) and many other types of worms. I think how often they are eating now is good, but if we really want to get their weight down then we could maybe feed them later in the day. To get them to move around more we could maybe start putting some of the food in the tank. We would drop the food on the other side of the tank that the turtles are on, make sure they see it, and then drop a worm or some type of food down so they have to swim to the other side to get it. Some things we could change to get them ready for the wild is turning the temperature down on the heater because in Moore’s Swamp the water is not eighty degrees. We should just turn it down to seventy, even though the water in Moore’s Swamp is probably about sixty-five. That’s what we could do to get them ready for the wild.

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