Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/922

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Raising Terrapins on the Farm

They require little more than sun, sand and water, and bring from $50 to $60 a dozen in the market

��GOOD Chesapeake terrapins measur- - ing six inches in length on the lower shell bring from $50 to $60 a dozen in the city markets. Clearly, it would pay to raise these turtles extensively. The at- tempt has been made over and over again, but no private enterprise has met with any commercial success because the turtles would not hatch out.

In 1902 the Bureau of Fisheries began breeding terrapins in captivity. In the experimental pounds at Beaufort, North Carolina, there are now two thousand terrapins of various ages which have been hatched and raised in confinement. Be- side these the Bureau has distributed sev- eral thousand terrapins in other places for experimental work.

The oldest brood in the Beaufort pound dates from 1909. The females of this brood have attained marketable size and have produced eggs. Some of the brood of 1910 also have grown large enough to be mark- eted.

The essentials of a good terrapin farm are some dry land for part of the day and some water all day. The females should be able to resort to sand beds when they desire to make their nests and they should have space in which to crawl about and sun themselves. Each adult terrapin requires ten square feet of space and each young one one square foot for health and comfort. An en- closure 100 feet square will provide satisfactory quarters for 750- adult turtles and twice as many young ones.

At Beaufort the terrapins are fed on fish with variety fur- nished by an occa- sional meal of blue

����Diamond-back turtles hatching out in a farm hatchery at Beaufort, North Carolina. The objects resembling small stones are the eggs

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��An enclosure 100 feet square will accom- modate 750 adults and many young ones

crabs or fiddlers. In the winter the young terrapins are given oysters. The fish are cut into small pieces, and the crabs are crushed before being fed to the terrapins. The daily cost of feeding one hundred terrapins is only five or ten cents.

The terrapin is a hibernating animal. During the cold weather it burrows into the mud and remains there until the return of warm weather. The terrapin farmer need not dread disease among his turtles. Terrapins seem singularly free from epi- demic diseases.

Eggs are laid from ' May to August. The average number of eggs in a nest is from eight to nine, al- though as many as sixteen have been found. The young appear in August. They can climb over a concrete wall two or three feet high and crawl through any hole they can find. They must be kept from the adult terra- pins while young be- cause the older ani- mals are likely to de- stroy them by tram- pling on them or by- eating their food. This is not done through viciousness or even through greediness, but oc- curs accidentally.

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