Every year, environmentalists living along the South Jersey coast are on the lookout, scanning the streets for baby turtles trying to make their way across busy roads and up onto the sidewalk. But the problem is, not every turtle is in plain sight.

Over the past few months, volunteers have rescued more than 800 Diamondback terrapin turtle hatchlings who hid underground in storm drains to survive freezing winter temperatures. They were brought to Stockton University, sometimes in groups of almost 200 at a time from just a few seaside towns. Some concerned residents even got creative with it – crafting a makeshift net out of home aquarium netting attached to a bamboo pole to reach the little guys.

Now at Stockton, the hatchlings will spend a year growing so they are as strong as possible when they’re released back into the wild.

Whether these hatchlings from the sewers are, in fact, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is yet to be seen.

July 2021
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