After weeks of voting and preparation, the Virginia Living Museum has announced the name for its new loggerhead sea turtle.
Of the three names on the ballot — Gingersnap, Lola and Shelldon —Gingersnap has won with 919 out of the 2,453 votes cast, according to the Newport News museum.
The sea turtle was introduced to the 30,000-gallon Chesapeake Bay aquarium in June. It joins a variety of other native Virginia species, including a sandbar shark.
History of the turtle
The sea turtle was admitted to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores as a straggler hatchling on Sept. 22, 2016, and then transferred to the Virginia Living Museum on Nov. 2, 2017.
At the time, the loggerhead weighed 15 pounds, so it was kept behind the scenes to allow it to gain at least another 10 pounds before being introduced into the the Chesapeake Bay aquarium.
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Gingersnap is still too young to determine its gender; loggerheads don’t sexually mature until they are at least 15 years old. The turtles may live as long as 60 years and reach 400 pounds, according to the museum.
The Virginia Living Museum collaborates with North Carolina aquariums to care for and raise juvenile loggerhead sea turtles that have been stranded or abandoned.
The museum then raises and displays the juvenile loggerheads in the Chesapeake Bay tank until they are matured and ready for release back into the wild.
Once they are ready, the turtles are taken 25 miles off the shores of Beaufort, North Carolina, to the gulf stream, where they are then released into the wild.
The turtles are often fitted with a satellite tag that provides data on their movements and migratory behavior, according to the museum.
The lightweight tags are attached to the turtles’ shells and transmit a signal each time the turtles surface, which indicates their exact location. The tags harmlessly fall off as the turtles’ shells grow, the museum said.
Track movement of these turtles online.
To learn more about the Virginia Living Museum, click here.
This story was published in coordination with our sister publication HNNDaily