Troublemaking turtle trio get on swimmingly in Great Yarmouth
19:39 22 November 2012
THREE “delinquent” sea turtles have struck up a surprise alliance at Great Yarmouth Sealife Centre, much to the relief of bosses.
Circumstances have contrived to temporarily place the three green turtles, all expelled from other centres for bullying, together in the Yarmouth centre’s ocean tank.
Permanent resident Noah arrived in September from a centre in Belgium, where he had become overly aggressive towards the other turtle he shared with.
About a month ago Noah was joined by another troublemaker Ernie, who had transferred from a Dutch Sea Life centre to Hunstanton Sea Life for the same reason.
On holiday in Yarmouth while the Hunstanton ocean tank is refurbished, Ernie struck up an immediate bond with Noah.
But the displays team at Yarmouth feared troubled waters when yet another green turtle arrived - Eddy from Sealife Hanover in Germany.
Eddy was also bullying a tank-mate, and is eventually destined for a new Sealife attraction in Manchester.
Yarmouth was the most convenient and logical halfway-house.
To everyone’s relief, Eddy has settled in without incident, and all three turtles are getting on swimmingly.
Christine Pitcher, displays supervisor, said: “It is a happy accident for us that we have ended up housing three such amazing animals at once, and an even happier accident that three known troublemakers seem to have hit if off so well here in Yarmouth.
“There is very little you can do to correct misbehaviour in an animal as single-minded as a sea-turtle, but most disputes tend to be over food.
“So what we do is have their food in three separate bowls at the top of the tank and target feed each one with a long feeding stick to make sure they all get a fair share and there’s no squabbling.
“Beyond that it’s all down to luck.”
The trio share their new home with a shoal of black-tipped reef sharks, a zebra shark, three nurse sharks and colourful shoaling fish.
And staff say their friendships can be a lot like those of humans.
“Some get on together but some take a dislike to each other,” explained Ms Pitcher. “So far it looks like we’ve struck lucky with these three.”
The 11-stone arrival Noah was named following a competition to find the best suggestion. Lisa Oakley, who visited the centre with her children Jack, 11, and Jade, 9, in September, picked the winning name. They were visiting from Hertfordshire and own a holiday home in Scratby.
An opportunity to join Darren Gook, senior aquarist, above the 250,000 litre ocean tank which houses Noah and the sharks was their prize.
Mr Gook splashed the surface of the water and within moments, much to the family’s delight, up came to Noah to be fed his lunch of lettuce and broccoli.