Today is World Turtle Day and we are celebrating by getting some life advice from our oceanic reptile friends.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Turtle hatchlings work as a team to dig up through 50-60cm of sand from inside their nest to the surface. Sadly only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings makes it to adulthood.
- Travel long distances – Turtles migrate huge distances in search of food then return to their original nesting beach. Adelita, a female loggerhead turtle, was tracked for a year covering 12,000 km during her migration
- Spend time at the beach – Female turtles can spend hours digging a nest, with green females laying up to 100-126 eggs and then covering the nest back up. Green Turtles do this roughly 3-5 times in a season, this is a LOT of effort so they only nest every 2-3 years.
- Spend time in the water – Once hatchlings reach the ocean they enter the ‘Lost Years’ not returning to coastal waters for up to 12 years, males never return to dry land!
- Age gracefully – If turtles are able to survive despite the many challenges they face, some researchers believe they may live to be as old as 100 years.
- Take time to relax – Loggerheads, hawksbills, and greens mature between 20-50 years, and the enormous leatherback around 15 years. The extended juvenile period might explain why they are always so relaxed when we see them on our reefs!
- Watch what you eat – Turtles eat a variety of prey including things like molluscs and crustaceans, hydrozoans, sargassum sea weed, jellyfish, and fish eggs. Unfortunately, they also mistake garbage and objects like tar balls, plastic bags, and other floating plastic particles as food. Once injested turtles can’t digest these items and often the turtle does not survive.
For more great advice about turtles and why they are so critical to the health of our reefs and oceans please visit: http://oceana.org/reports/why-healthy-oceans-need-sea-turtles-importance-sea-turtles-marine-ecosystems
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