A project of Mote Marine Laboratory.
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Species: Kemp's Ridley
Life Stage: Juvenile
Release Date: 2012-12-06 17:00:00
Release Location: Honeymoon Island
Last Location: 2013-02-13 15:51:03
Squeaky measured 32.3 cm curved carapace length. Squeaky was found in Estero Bay which is part of the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary. She had stranded during a red tide and was taken for recovery to the Mote Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital. She had been feeding on tunicates (aka sea squirts) which is different than the usual diet of spider crabs seen for ridleys by a ongoing diet study conducted by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Mote Marine Laboratory. Squeaky was released north of Clearwater to avoid exposure to the ongoing red tide bloom. The satellite tag is sponsored by David and Vicky Smith.
Squeaky remained at the release site for a couple of weeks before moving up to Anclote Keys. A strong cold front passed on 20 December 2012 and she responded by traveling offshore and southward. Squeaky then moved inshore near Madeira Beach and then down to the entrance of Tampa Bay before moving offshore and continuing southward. She stopped her progression off Venice when she once again encountered the red tide bloom that has persisted off the Florida west coast. Squeaky headed inshore and continued moving down the coast through the bloom boundary. She then entered Charlotte Harbor via Boca Grande Pass and has been residing around the islands north of Pine Island Sound.
Squeaky and Allison were an opportunistic test of feeding ground fidelity that has been observed for Kempï¿½s ridleys inhabiting Charlotte Harbor and other west Florida estuaries. The turtles were displaced/released 200 km north of Estero Bay, the area they had presumably been occupying prior to red tide exposure. Allison has returned to Estero Bay, thus exhibiting fidelity to a previously inhabited area. Squeaky has returned to Charlotte Harbor but remains in an area approximately 30 km to the north.