Get to Know Sea Turtles!
This month’s marine life spotlight is the Sea Turtle; after 150 million years they are one of the oldest creatures inhabiting the Earth. Most sea turtles are found in warm and temperate climates, especially near the equator where they migrate hundreds, even thousands, of miles every year between nesting and feeding grounds. To help stave off exhaustion during migration,sea turtles fuel up on jellyfish, seaweed, crabs, shrimp, and other small aquatic creatures. Mating season for sea turtles spans from March to October followed by females laying from 70 to 190 eggs in a nest (commonly referred to as a “clutch.” The reason for such a large volume of eggs laid by a female turtle is because only 1 out of 1000 turtles make it to adulthood.Threats Faced by Sea Turtles
Unfortunately, most sea turtles do not make it to adulthood as they are a source of food for crabs, birds and other marine animals. However, their biggest threat to survival comes from harmful human activity; oil spills, habitat loss due to development and entanglement in debris are the leading causes of sea turtle fatalities annually.How You Can Help Sea Turtles
If you are interested in helping out with sea turtle conservation, here are some habits you can implement in your daily life to help remedy human-made harm:
- Turn out lights visible from the beach: Sea turtle babies use light and reflections from the moon to find their way to the water at night. Artificial sources of light confuse them and cause them to head inland which can be potentially dangerous.
- Clean up trash on the beach: Sea turtles can get tangled in plastic and can confuse plastic garbage with food
- Avoid nesting areas: While they are very adorable, DO NOT touch them. Be aware of where their nests are and make sure your local wildlife associations are blocking off these areas properly. Volunteer! Organize a beach clean-up with family or friends - putting aside a couple hours of your time can help save our sea turtles!