Studying baby sea turtles isn’t exactly easy, especially when you want to measure their weight.
They don’t particularly like to sit still, so when you put them on the sale, the weight reading moves around a lot and it’s hard to get an accurate reading.
Even worse, their fidgeting can lead to them getting dropped, which from the height of a lab table, can be fatal to them.
Weighing these animals is important for preservation efforts, as experts need to be able to track their well-being and ensure nothing is going wrong, so you can see where the inability to do so can cause problems.
So what can scientists do to better rather information from uncooperative baby turtles?
There are many types of animals that can be turned on their backs and they’ll stay still in a trance-like state, but baby turtles aren’t exactly the same way. Instead, they panic and try to get back on their feet again.
On the other hand, biologists from the University of Malaysia Terengganu have found a way to make baby turtles relax, even if just for a few seconds, so they can get the data they need.
By putting the baby turtles on their backs, covering their eyes so they can’t see, and applying a very light amount of pressure on their chests, the baby turtles will stop resisting and relax. It’s almost as though they are under hypnosis.
New Scientist reports that the trance lasts a good 25 seconds, which is plenty of time for the scientists to obtain their data.
The testing was performed on the green turtle species, but lead scientist Mohd Uzair believes that this method should be effective for a wide variety of turtle species when it becomes necessary to collect data on them.
The newly-discovered method holds a lot of potential for helping with future data collection.
Watch it in action below:
Source: New Scientist