T is for Turtle
Image © US Fisheries and Wildlife, Becky Skiba on Flikr.
There are loggerhead turtles swimming in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and in the Mediterranean Sea. They spend most of their time in the water – only the females come to land just for the short time it takes to dig a hole and lay their eggs on the beach from where they hatched many years before.
Females only lay eggs every 3 years or so, so they don’t produce many offspring. When the little turtles hatch, it is up to them to make their way to the sea – orientated by the brightest horizon using reflections and the moon and the stars.
They have to negotiate many predators on their way to the sea, and in the shallows, before they make their way to deeper waters to hide in weeds until they are bigger.
In the deep waters they are prey to sharks and bigger fish – many die from ingesting and getting caught in plastic and other rubbish found in the seas. If you leave anything on a beach, it ends up in the sea – plastic bags and other rubbish gets blown and taken into waterways by rain and the wind, and then it also ends up in the sea. It is very important to dispose of all rubbish carefully.
Read about ‘Peanut’ the turtle who was caught as a youngster inside a plastic ring pack here: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/adoptriver/peanut.html
Only about 1 in 1,000 turtles makes it to adulthood.
Loggerhead turtles are classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Photo © as above.
Poem © Liz Brownlee.
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