Baby sea turtles don’t really need our help being adorable, but remarkably, scientists have figured out a way to make the tiny shelled reptiles even more mind-numbingly cute: by hypnotising them.
Mohd Uzair Rusli, a biologist at the University of Malaysia Terengganu, ran into some trouble recently when he was trying to weigh baby green sea turtles for a physiological study. The little scamps just wouldn’t stay still! But Rusli stumbled upon a simple solution when he noticed that his hatchlings did stop wriggling if placed in a dark container or stacked atop one another. He suspects that darkness and the pressure of stacking trigger the sensation of being packed in a nest with hundreds of other baby sea turtles.
Using these observations, Rusli developed a simple hypnosis technique. By flipping the hatchlings on their backs, shutting their eyes and applying gentle pressure to their chests, he can immobilise his subjects long enough to take an accurate weight measurement. Between this new development and poo-catching swimsuits, we’re well on our way to learning everything there is to know about baby sea turtles, or dying of cute in the process. [New Scientist]