Instead of taking Saturday off for sightseeing around Reunion, Elke insisted on assisting Bernadin Ouaratta and Alain Castel with cleaning the turtle tanks – any excuse to get back into the main viewing tank!
While Bernadin scrubbed Blanche’s tank, Elke scrubbed Blanche!
Blanche was completely unbothered by all the attention and seemed happy to be held by Elke, once again armed with a scrubbing brush.
Next on the cleaning schedule was the main viewing tank!
While Bernadin went to get the stuff for cleaning the main viewing window, Elke was allowed into the water to attempt to clean the turtles – 3 of which happened to be “wild” animals!
Having been warned by Bernadin that the Hawksbills have a tendency to bite, Elke was weary of getting up close and personal with them and headed straight for Archelon – who swam away!
Carotte, the loggerhead, and Olive, the Olive Ridley, where hiding at the deep end so Elke did not even attempt to clean them – not a problem as they had already been scrubbed on Thursday.
As Bernadin had not yet returned, Elke was checking out the resident fish in the tank when all of a sudden she had a curious Hawsbill on her hands – Croupette wanted to say hi!
Cautiously Elke tried to touch her with the scrubbing brush – which she tried to nip! So, armed with a bright yellow crock (Elke’s shoe) in one hand, acting as “bait” and the brush in the other, Elke was able to give Croupette a half scrub. The turtle eventually agreed to have her head scrubbed but would shy away every time Elke tired to clean her shell.
Myriam was not at all impressed with all the attention that Croupette was getting and chased the smaller Hawksbill away. She then eyeballed Elke, who with some persuasion (using the crock to keep her beak at arm length) managed to get her shell cleaned.
Once the viewing window was cleaned, Elke then assisted with the morning feed in the Care Centre. Having fallen in love with one particular turtle, Elke then spent the rest of the morning saying bye-bye to Virginie, who had no issues being scrubbed by Elke. Indeed she would follow Elke around her tank, demanding more attention.
While swimming with “tame” turtles was great fun, it is important to stress that most of these turtles have been living in captivity for over 20 years and, as such, have come to rely on humans for their survival. In no way, shape or form, do we at MCSS recommend that anyone try this in the wild!