Save The Bay’s Exploration Center and Aquarium now has a brand-new tank for Bowser, its common snapping turtle, thanks to donations and help from community members, volunteers and Easton’s Beach lifeguards.
Donated by New England Aquarium, the 1950s vintage, 590-gallon tank gives Bowser the room he needs to grow to his full size.
“We were worried we wouldn’t be able to keep him if he got any bigger, but now he will be able to happily live in this tank for the next 10 years,” said Adam Kovarsky, Save The Bay’s aquarist.
When Exploration Center staff found Bowser five years ago washed up on Easton’s Beach, he was the size of a quarter, covered in sand and saltwater, not a good situation for a freshwater turtle. “When we found Bowser he was little and dying; he was lucky to be found,” said Kovarksy.
Bowser’s previous 250-gallon tank, donated by a Charlestown resident, has served the turtle well for the past five years and allowed him to grow to his current size of about a foot in length. In the new, larger tank, he’ll double in size.
Save The Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium
175 Memorial Blvd, Newport, RI 02840
General admission is $8; discounts for military ID and senior citizens. Family members and above enjoy free admission for 2 adults and up to 4 children. Become a member now.
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Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Labor Day and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays after Labor Day.
The common snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in Rhode Island and a top predator in its habitat, using its powerful jaws to eat anything from insects to birds to amphibians.
Snapping turtles play an important role keeping the freshwater that drains into Narragansett Bay healthy, by maintaining food chain regulation and increasing biodiversity. Bowser is special because of two extra toes on his left front foot, giving him seven toes instead of the usual five, a mutation called polydactylism.
The “new” vintage tank also has a brand new stand in the front of the aquarium, creating a cozy cave-like space for the Center’s littlest visitors to get a close up look at another turtle exhibit underneath. Robert Russell Company donated the metal for the stand, motivated by owner Russell’s respect for Save The Bay’s work, while Engineer Alexander Segala, a member of Save The Bay, donated his time fabricating the stand to hold the 3,500-pound tank.
Founded in 1970, Save The Bay works to protect and improve Narragansett Bay and its watershed through advocacy, education, and restoration efforts. It envisions a fully swimmable, fishable, healthy Narragansett Bay, accessible to everyone and globally recognized as an environmental treasure.