Sandy Neck saw many exciting records this year with the Diamond Back Terrapin program. Perhaps the most exciting and unique was the hatching on September 20 of “Them”, the first Polycephalic (or two-headed) Diamond Back Terrapins that have hatched at Sandy Neck since the Head Start program started!
Polycephaly is a rare condition that can occur in any species, but is most commonly seen in reptiles; snakes and turtles in particular.
At the end of every summer, Sandy Neck staff begins to bring in Diamond Back Terrapin nests that have been protected from predators during the nesting season. This method of relocating nests to buckets and putting a cap on them allows Natural Resource staff to ensure that this protected species has the best chance at hatching and for a select few hatchlings, be a part of the Diamond Back Terrapin Head Start Program!
The 2021 season saw some pretty impressive records;
406 Diamond Back Terrapins nests were laid at Sandy Neck
56 of those nests were protected and those 56 nests had a total of 1,883 eggs!
“Them” is currently being monitored and cared for by the amazing animal care and veterinary staff at at the Cape Wildlife Center and will continue to be assessed to ensure a great quality of life.