1. Our tackle boxes


  • Small and large plasma tubes
  • Extra 2ml eppendorf tubes
  • Extra Lithium heparin (anticoagulant) tubes
  • A handful of syringes

  1. A scale

Each of us has a scale type:

  • 1 large hanging scale used to weigh our big turtles (>5kg) (softshells & snappers)
  • 1 small tabletop scale

  1. Extra syringes already prepped with needles in multiple sizes for both big and small turtles!

  1. A pencil box filled with sanitized probes (used for getting stubborn turtle mouths open)

  1. A spray bottle with bleach!

  • One of our student researchers in the lab discovered that bleach is especially effective in sanitizing equipment between turtles to keep from spreading any pathogens!


  1. A pack of both small and large swabs (basically just giant q tips)

  1. Isopropyl alcohol in tubes & a pair of hemostats

  • For 1 of Kate’s projects involving leeches! This allows us to collect and store leeches for later use!


  1. A trash bag

  1. Hand sanitizer and Gloves!

  • Biosecurity is especially important when we’re handling so many turtles in a day!


  1. A sharps box

  • Proper disposal of our needles is incredibly important for everyone’s safety

  1. Calipers

  • This typically does not fit in our backpacks and instead is traditionally sheathed somewhere in our boats or behind our backs but its crucial to getting turtle measurements.
  1. Tiny sharpies!

  • Tiny tubes mean tiny sharpies for labeling things
  1. Snapper ropes!

  • Bottom line = Common snapping turtles are dangerous animals with bites definitely capable of producing injury! These ropes allow us to maneuver them in a safe manner during our health assessments.

  1. A drill

  • Cook county utilizes a drill to produce notches in our turtle shell. Other counties will often utilize a hand file for this.
  1. Ipads

  • This is where we take notes on all exams done during the day!