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Happy World Turtle Day!

May 23, 2017 | Turtles

Happy World Turtle Day! 

Sea turtles have been on this planet for nearly 100 million years, making them one of the oldest animal families on Earth. Yet, despite their seniority, most species of sea turtle are endangered due to poaching and habitat destruction.  

They are actively hunted for their skin, eggs, meat, and shells. Often times, sea turtles are swept under the rug, and most people are not aware of their endangered status. There are more than seven types of sea turtle, ranging anywhere from two feet long and 100 pounds, to over eight feet long and 2,000 pounds. Even though their numbers are dwindling, they can be found in every ocean around the world, in both tropical waters, and freezing climates. Sea turtles will travel over 1,000 miles just to find a mate, and most remain alone until they do so. 

Green sea turtles greatly contribute to the ecosystem by eating seagrass and keeping it short, preventing other sea creatures from getting caught in it. Sea turtles enjoy jellyfish, however, many times they will accidentally swallow plastic by mistake, which can lead to death. If all goes well for a sea turtle, they can live up to 100 years, and possibly lay just as many eggs. 

The lives of these majestic turtles should not be taken lightly. Living to 100 years of age is a feat for most humans, why should it be different for animals? Luckily there are steps you can take to help sea turtles across the world. 

  1. When at a beach, never leave your trash on the ground or in the water, always pick up your litter or any other trash around you and throw it away. 

  2. Never turn on bright lights while at a beach. Baby sea turtles follow the light of the moon to find their way in the water at night. Seeing an artificial light could trick them into thinking it’s the moon, and make them come inland. 

  3. Never disturb sea turtle nesting grounds. You could risk trampling the eggs or scaring the mother. 

  4. Also, stop the use of chemicals on your lawn and in your household. There is always the risk of chemicals washing into coastal waters, which can kill plants and animals. 

Do what you can this National Turtle Day to help out the sea turtles!

Comments

I work to help sea turtles at the SC Aquarium.

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