Friday, February 28, 2020

Loggerhead Hatchlings in Florida

It’s an amazing time of year again on the shorelines of Pensacola Beach and the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Sea turtle hatchling season is in full swing all over Florida, where about 90 percent of sea turtle nesting in the U.S. takes place.

   

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Giant Turtle Fossil Discovery!

Read more about the fossils here!






















The remains of an extinct giant turtle species were recently recovered from dig sites in Venezuela and Colombia. The fossils - nearly 10 feet across! - could be from 5 to 10 million years ago, during the Miocene epoch, when the northern region of South America was humid and swampy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

20 Things You Didn't Know About Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles live in waters all around the world, except for the planet’s extreme north and south regions, and live as long as 80 years. There are seven species of sea turtles, and six of them — Green, Hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead, and Olive Ridley — are on the U.S. Endangered Species list.
The Flatback, found only in the area around Australia, is considered vulnerable by that country. Here are 20 other things you might not know about sea turtles.

1. Hawksbills are named for their jaws
Hawksbill sea turtles have raptorlike jaws to reach hard to get to places in coral reefs. Their favorite food is sponges.

2. Greens go for greens
Adult greens are the only herbivorous sea turtles, eating seagrass and algae.

3. Leatherbacks are adapted for eating soft stuff
Leatherbacks eat jellyfish and other soft-bodied animals and have stiff spines in their throats to help them swallow this slippery prey.

4. Olive Ridleys have Mass nesting parties
Olive Ridley sea turtles practice nesting in large groups, known as arribadas. WThis spectacular event is seen in only five: Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and India. Arribadas can include as many as 200,000 individuals.

5. Nest Temperatures Determines the Sex of Turtle Hatchlings
Warmer temperatures mean more females, cooler ones more males.

6. An old home movie solved a nesting mystery
For decades, scientists had no idea where Kemp's ridley sea turtles nested. Then, at the 1961 meeting of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Austin, Texas, biologists saw a home movie made in 1947 by Andres Herrera. It showed at least 40,000 ridleys nesting on a beach on the northern Gulf coast of Mexico.

7. Kemp's Ridley's are now making their home in Texas
In order to increase their population, a secondary nesting location was created for Kemp's ridley sea turtles on Texas's Padre Island National Seashore.

8. Kemp's Ridley Turtles Suffered in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
According to presentation at the Second International Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Symposium, studies indicate that the number of Kemp's ridley sea turtles at the site of the oil spill suffered because of it.

9. One bycatch problem is mostly solved
Sea turtle mortality in shrimp trawls was once a major problem in the Gulf of Mexico, but the introduction of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on trawl nets starting 20 years ago has drastically reduced the number of sea turtles killed.

10. They can dive very deep, and stay under for long periods
As reptiles, sea turtles breathe air, but they have the ability to remain submerged for hours at a time. Leatherback sea turtles can dive up to 3000 feet deep.

11. They're Long-distance swimmers
Sea turtles have been documented migrating vast distances. One was tracked traveling more than 9000 miles from Baja California to Japan.

12. Dogs can sniff out clandestine nests
While most sea turtle species nest at night, the Kemp’s Ridley nests during the day, when winds quickly blow away the female’s tracks. Some researchers use dogs to sniff out nests.

13. To track hatchlings, scientists use manicure supplies
Scientists study the early stages of sea turtle life using neoprene-silicone attachment on an acrylic basecoat — just like that used for fake fingernails — kept tags on for an average of 70 days, long enough to track early behaviors.

14. Scientists pulled off a great egg evacuation
After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists launched a massive relocation effort, moving 28,000 eggs between June 25 and August 18 to Kennedy Space Center on Florida's east coast. The rescue succeeded; in July, August and September, 14,000 hatchlings—mostly loggerheads—were released into the Atlantic Ocean.

15. Sea turtles are still threatened by poaching
Poaching remains a significant threat to sea turtles around the world.

16. Turtles get tumors
Fibropapillomatosis is a chronic and often lethal tumor-forming disease in sea turtles. Recent research suggests that FP occurs more frequently in green sea turtles that forage in waters subject to an increase in organic matter that leads to algal blooms.

17. They eat a lot of plastic
Recent studies show that leatherback and green sea turtles are at the greatest risk of becoming sick or dying from eating plastic.

18. Another bycatch problem might be solved
Small-scale coastal fisheries accidentally catch significant numbers of sea turtles, injuring or drowning them. But changing the type of bait or using ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes can reduce the chances of capture, according to a recent study.

19. Volunteers help save them
Sea turtle conservation projects around the world rely on volunteers to help patrol nesting beaches, move eggs into protected corrals, and monitor the release of hatchlings.

20. Turtles have a compass in the brain
A female sea turtles returns to the beach where she hatched when it is time to lay her own eggs.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

How to Hypnotize a Turtle

Scientists use this tricky technique to hypnotize small turtles in order to weigh them when young!


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Loggerhead Sea Turtles


Loggerhead Sea Turtles are on the international endangered species list. The Tybee Sea Turtle Project is a conservancy group made up of volunteers at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center to protect these magnificent marine creatures.

Learn more here.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Good News in Costa Rica

In November 2019, never-before-seen swarms of thousands of sea turtles were filmed off the coast of Ostional National Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica. The conservation efforts of the Wildlife Conservation Association have helped one of the densest populations of sea turtles on the planet.
Learn more about the Wildlife Conservation Assoc in Costa Rica!



Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Friday, December 6, 2019

The Turtle Wax Story

Why is America’s favorite game show consolation prize called “Turtle Wax”?



Benjamin Hirsch started mixing up batches of his special formula liquid car polish in his Chicago bathtub in 1945. He called his product Plastone, and as the company’s only employee he was the sole member of the sales force. His tried and true method of selling Plastone was going to a large venue – like the parking lot of Wrigley Field – and shining the fenders of parked cars. When the owners returned to their vehicles, they were usually so impressed with the beautiful sheen that they purchased Hirsch’s product.

One day in the early 1950s, Hirsch was headed home after a sales call in Wisconsin. He stopped to rest at a tranquil place called Turtle Creek. According to company lore, it occurred to him that Plastone gave a car a shine that was as reflective as the water of Turtle Creek. He further reasoned that his polish gave cars a wax coating as tough as a turtle shell, and promptly renamed his product Turtle Wax.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Endangered Loggerheads Begin a Comeback

Good news! In 2016, 6,446 loggerhead sea turtle nests were laid on South Carolina beaches. This year, 8,857 nests were.

To read more about this species, click here.


That number — a preliminary figure of 525,540 emerged eggs —  tells the success of a largely volunteer program that has helped to bring the loggerhead back from a threatening decline.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Friday, November 1, 2019

Painted Turtles

The painted turtle is an aquatic turtle species most commonly found in and around slow moving bodies of water. This fella is of the Eastern Painted variety.

Generally, female painted turtles grow to be larger (about one foot) than their male counterparts. When provided with a proper diet and care, painted turtles can live for 25 to 30 years, with some of the oldest living to be nearly fifty.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

My Scary Cousin - Alligator Snapping Turtle


























This friendly, handsome fella, the Alligator Snapping Turtle, was found in the middle of the road somewhere in Oklahoma by a biker, who was treated to this giant smile when he tried to move him to safety in the grass. Note the spikes on his neck. Ouch!

The alligator snapper keeps to primarily southern U.S. waters. They have a large, heavy head, and a long, thick shell with three dorsal ridges of large scales giving it a primitive appearance reminiscent of some of the plated dinosaurs. They have three distinct rows of spikes and raised plates on the carapace, whereas the common snapping turtle has a smoother carapace. They are a solid gray, brown, black, or olive-green in color, and often covered with algae.

Alligator snapping turtles can range in length from 16 to 32 inches and weigh up to 175 lbs. They will eat almost anything they can catch. Snapping turtles can remain submerged underwater for up to three hours at a time. Look at this adorable baby alligator snapper!