Palm is one lucky Ornate Diamondback Terrapin as he now has a forever home in a special aquarium at Tampa Bay Watch (TBW), 3000 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde. The turtle was originally found in a Tampa Bay area parking lot when it was a little baby, said Jon Ziegler, TBW community room coordinator. “The people who rescued him tried taking him to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and they said to take him to us. He’s been here ever since so people can learn.” Now, Palm is fully grown but “when he first arrived, he fit into the palm of your hand, hence his name,” said Ziegler. Terrapins are the only turtles in the world that live entirely in brackish water – like coastal shorelines, swamps, estuaries, lagoons, tidal creeks, mangrove thickets and salt marshes – where a mix of salt and fresh water form their habitats, according to George L. Heiånrich of Heinrich Ecological Services of Florida. They can live more than 30 years. Palm will not be released “because he never learned how to survive in the wild,” said Ziegler. For a detailed guide to Diamondback Terrapins of Tampa Bay published by the Florida Turtle Conservation Trust, click here . The mission of TBW, a non-profit celebrating its 25th year of environmental stewardship, is to protect and restore the Tampa Bay estuary through scientific and educational programs. For more information, visit tampabaywatch.org.
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