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Last Updated: Thursday November 05 2009 07:27 GMT

Girl helps fix turtles' bad habit

Turtle

A pair of turtles at Birmingham Sea Life Centre have had their bad eating habits cured by a clever schoolgirl.

The turtles, Gulliver, 55 and Molokai, 33, live in the centre's ocean tank and used to steal fish left for the sharks.

Work experience pupil Laura Deeley, 17, from Halesowen, used a clicking device to help retrain the green turtles.

She taught them to associate the clicks with broccoli and got them off the fish and back on to their natural diet of vegetarian food.

In the wild the turtles only eat sea grasses, and scoffing lots of fish could make them ill or even kill them.

Laura was given cash by the University of Birmingham to train the turtles to make it easier for staff to give them health checks.

She said: "When I learned about the eating problem I realised I could probably tackle that at the same time, but it worked far better than I'd hoped."