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‘Oh my heart’: Video of scientist feeding a tiny rescued baby turtle spreads joy

Baby turtle was having trouble eating. Watch a scientist step in to help him out

Ecologist David Steen captured hearts on Twitter after he posted a video showing him feeding a baby terrapin turtle some food at a turtle hospital in Jekyll Island, Georgia.
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Ecologist David Steen captured hearts on Twitter after he posted a video showing him feeding a baby terrapin turtle some food at a turtle hospital in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

If you need a pick-me up to get through the rest of the week, this video of a teeny-tiny turtle eating the teeniest-tiniest bites might just do it.

David Steen, a research ecologist at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island, filmed himself feeding a baby diamondback terrapin who was being rehabilitated at the sea turtle hospital.

“Today I had to hand-feed a baby turtle that‘s been having trouble eating and I think it’s something you’ll want to see,” Steen wrote.

The video shows him picking up a tiny morsel of food and taking it over to the tank of a tiny baby turtle, who looks at it for a moment before munching down. Steen takes a few more pieces and holds them a few inches away, waiting for the turtle to come and grab its dinner.

Steen normally works in the research department, and said his job usually is a little less adorable.

“I just popped down to help, and one of the jobs was feeding some of these turtles. It is unusual for me to do that,” he said in an interview with McClatchy. The center was also busy taking care of a shipment of other turtles cold-stunned by frigid water, Steen said.

The video took off on Twitter, with more than 2,300 retweets and another 11,000 “likes.” Many people were thankful for a bright moment, while others said they had shown their children the video.

Steen shared another video of him feeding a loggerhead sea turtle named Boomerang, and encouraged people to donate to Sea Turtle Center, which he said has research, education and rehabilitation centers.

So what happened to the little fella that brought him to the hospital?

“Lots of terrapins get hit on the road nearby during the nesting season, and sometimes the hospital wants to extract the eggs and incubate them from the turtles who had died,” Steen said. He said the turtle would probably be released within a year.

As for his brief moment of Twitter fame, Steen said he was always grateful to see people show an interest in marine life. “Hopefully the, ‘Hey this is a cute turtle’ feeling translates into a desire to conserve them,” he said.

That starts by learning more about them — and especially about what threatens them, he said, like development invading their living space, the impact of fishing, and the “looming threat” of global warming.



The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Cushing out of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, helps release 27 rehabilitated sea turtles into Gulf Stream waters, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The sea turtles were rescued by North Carolina Aquarium crews after experien



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