Back in April, we shared this trail camera image as part of a sequence showing interaction between a softshell turtle and a nesting crocodile on Reserve lands. We were excited to learn that this image was selected as the Grand Prize winning photo by RECONYX in their 2018 Trail Camera Photo Contest! Congratulations to Steve Bertone, resource management (and trail camera) specialist.
RB staff provided assistance during the rescue of a nine-foot-long manatee at Marco Rose Marina on Sunday. This unorthodox rescue was a group effort involving FWC's manatee team and law enforcement, Rose Marina and reserve staffers Greg Curry and Jill Ryder Schmid. The manatee is now recovering at Sea World. Watch the video below to see how it got to the manatee ambulance!
What the heck is that? It isn't necessarily associated with the estuary, but we've seen this interesting fungus on the grounds near our headquarters building several times over the years and have identified it as Clathrus ruber, or "basket stinkhorn."
The inside of this cage fungus is coated with slime that emits a putrid odor (smells like rotting meat) to attract flies that help distribute its spores. The smell is so bad it is also nicknamed "devil's eggs" because the fungus sprouts from an egg-shaped ball. Although native to Europe, the fungus is not harmful or toxic, but boy does it stink! It helps decompose dead organic material such as hardwood mulch.
Most turtles, especially sea turtles, have a low profile, streamlined shape and flippers or webbed feet that help them swim. Tortoises, on the other hand, are specifically adapted for terrestrial life.
The gopher tortoise is the only tortoise native to Florida, and it has a high, domed shell, stumpy legs, and claws suitable for digging burrows in the sand. Sometimes they nest in dunes next to the beach, but they prefer not to swim. Recently, a gopher tortoise hatchling was admitted to the Von Arx wildlife center because it was placed in the Gulf of Mexico by someone who was "trying to help."
Learn more about the reptiles found in our area or call Von Arx directly before taking any action, to make sure the animal is actually getting help, at 239-252-CARE.
Staff with Rookery Bay Research Reserve assisted in the release of five sea turtles rehabilitated at the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel. So far in August, a female loggerhead was released on August 13, two Kemp's ridley sea turtles were released on August 16 and two more Kemp's ridleys on Tuesday, August 21. We reached out to CROW for details on these patients, and here is what they told us: