Wednesday, August 5, 2020

My Cousin: The Razor-Backed Musk Turtle



Razor-backed Musk Turtle is found in the states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Florida and Louisiana and native to the U.S.

The razor-backed musk turtle grows to approximately 6 inches in length. It has a brown-colored shell, with black markings at the edges of each scute. The shell has a distinct, sharp keel down the center of its length, giving the species its common name. The body is typically grey-brown in color, with black spotting, as is the head, which tends to have a bulbous shape to it. It has a long neck, short legs, and a sharp beak. Males can usually be distinguished from females by their longer tails.

They are almost entirely aquatic, spending most of their time in shallow, heavily vegetated, slow-moving creeks or ponds. The only time they typically venture onto land is when females lay their eggs. When a razor-backed musk turtle feels threatened, it will release a foul odor, similar to a skunk's. Their diet consists primarily of aquatic invertebrates, including freshwater clams, crayfish, snails and various insects. They also feed on fish and carrion. Its relatively small size, and ease of care makes it a more attractive choice as a pet turtle for many keepers.


Photos:  www.joelsartore.com

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Adopt a Sea Turtle!

Sea turtles have outlived almost all prehistoric animals with which they once shared the planet. Having survived the extinction of the dinosaurs, marine turtles still inhabit the oceans’ open waters and coastal habitats, feeding on jellyfish and other aquatic plants and animals. Critically endangered, the sea turtle is at risk from many factors, including habitat destruction, entanglement in fishing gear, hunting and egg collection, climate change and pollution.

Adopting a sea turtle (virtually) from the World Wildlife Organization makes a great gift to yourself or anyone that loves the creatures of our planet.

Click here to get details on adopting a sea turtle.


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Run, Babies, Run!

Sea Turtle hatchlings get a little help before making a dash for the ocean~

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Meet Murtle


















Murtle the Turtle is a large sculpture of a turtle located in the southern California desert town of Joshua Tree.

Address:  61597 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA

If you're going, take the Twenty Nine Palms Highway roadside in Joshua Tree, CA., to a parking lot near a laundromat.





Wednesday, April 15, 2020

No Distancing Practice Here!

Loggerheads on the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelle Islands refuse to practice social distancing. (Thanks @thomaspeschak on IG for this image!)


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.