Meet real aquatic and terrestial turtles in this exciting exhibit focused on turtle conservation and science. Turtles outlived their contemporaries, the dinosaurs, but they need our help to survive today. Come discover what traits helped turtles triumph in the past, the challenges they face today, and how we can all help. 

Here, you can learn about Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program, which has monitored local sea turtle nesting for more than 40 years, and discover how we tag turtles to track their migrations. You can also learn about our Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital, where we treat sick turtles so they can go home again to the ocean.

Our turtles can't wait to sea you when you visit Mote Aquarium!

Meet the turtles

Hang Tough

Ancient Survivors features Hang Tough, a blind green turtle that came to Mote's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital in 1992 with severe head injuries that damaged both optic nerves. We helped Hang Tough recover, but due to blindness, this animal cannot survive in the wild. Mote is honored to provide this ancient survivor with a lifelong home and the support needed to thrive. Mote's animal care experts have spent many hours helping Hang Tough learn to navigate this specially designed habitat.

Montego & Shelley

Montego and Shelley are adult female loggerhead sea turtles born in North Carolina in 1977. They were raised in human care and participated in growth and mating studies. When those studies ended, Montego and Shelley (who were named in an essay contest for school children) came to Mote to help educate the public about sea turtles.


Dalton is a male american snapping turtle, estimated to have hatched in 2014. He was donated to Mote by the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC). Unlike his roomates, Hang Tough, Montego and Shelley, Dalton is a freshwater turtle and enjoys hanging out by rivers, lakes, and wetlands. 

Hatchling Hospital

Sea turtles nest on Gulf of Mexico beaches from May through October. Sometimes the hatchlings emerging from these nests need a little extra help—that's where the Hatchling Hospital comes in. Hatchlings that may need a few days to weeks of medical care are treated in this special hospital and then returned to the wild when they are healthy—giving wild populations a boost.

Thanks to our supporters

Turtles: Ancient Survivors was made possible by a generous donation from Mote Volunteer Penelope Kingman in honor of her husband, Barry J. Kingman, who was also a Mote Volunteer, and through a grant from the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Get your Florida Sea Turtle License Plate online at:

Did you know?

You can adopt a sea turtle at Mote! Your symbolic adoption directly benefits Mote Aquarium and the animals inside it.

Adopt a sea turtle today!