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Scientists Hypnotize Baby Sea Turtles For Science

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Tom Hale

author

Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

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Isabelle Kuehn/Shutterstock

Biologists have developed a technique to hypnotize baby sea turtles in a bid to study the weight of these tiny squirming sea creatures, New Scientist reports. Besides anything, it's obscenely cute. 

Tracking baby turtles' weight is extremely important for their conservation, as it can give insights into their energy reserves, diet, and overall health. Fairly understandably, however, turtles get in a bit of a panic and wildly thrash their flippers if you flip them on their backs, so much so it can throw off a reading. Additionally, their disposition for flailing around and the surprising speed of their scampering makes them difficult to photograph and X-ray.  

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Mohd Uzair Rusli, a biologist at the University of Malaysia Terengganu, noticed how the sea turtles quickly became subdued when they were in the dark and stacked on top of each other as it mimicked the sensation of being buried in a nest. So to trigger this innate response, the scientists start by flipping them on their back and shutting their eyes. They then apply a light amount of pressure to the turtle’s chest. No swinging pendulums necessary. Once under, the turtles remain still for over 20 seconds yet return to their normal excited selves straight after.

[H/T: New Scientist]


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  • tag
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  • leatherback sea turtles,

  • hypnosis,

  • baby turtles

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