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Sea Turtle Hatchling Heading to Monterey

Can sea turtles fly? Well, a young loggerhead sea turtle similar to the one pictured here will be airborne tomorrow, en route from North Carolina to an exhibit in our Open Sea galleries.

It’s flying coach to Monterey with Curator Steve Vogel. You can follow their progress on Wednesday using the Twitter hashtag #TravelingTurtle.

At the earliest, it could be on exhibit Thursday morning, depending on the outcome of its veterinary exam. (We’ll keep you posted.)

The turtle is one of nine hatchlings rescued earlier this year by our colleagues with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. These turtles didn’t make it back to sea with their nest-mates, and were hand-raised at the aquarium.

All nine are being loaned out to aquariums around the country, where they’ll live for up to two years before they’re returned to North Carolina, tagged and released to the wild.

Our youngster is just over 4 inches long and weighs less than half a pound. By the time it leaves Monterey, it could be more than a foot long and weigh up to 15 pounds.

We won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, though. Even experts can’t tell a sea turtle’s gender until it’s around 10 years old.

Look for tomorrow’s updates at #TravelingTurtle, then come check the little guy out for yourself. It will be on the second floor of the Open Sea, near the puffins and other seabirds, in an exhibit that highlights the threats facing sea turtles and other animals from unsustainable fishing practices.

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