What is a Sea Turtle? This quick paragraph will sum up the basics, then view our infographic to get to know the different types of turtles, if you’re lucky you may spot one during your next trip to Anna Maria Island (if you do it’s important not to interfere and to report them to the turtle watch: (941) 720-5664).
A Sea Turtle is actually a marine reptile who’s origin dates back over a hundred million years (yes that’s dinosaur time). Today there are 7 different types of Sea Turtles, all having in common that they must surface for air, have a unique shell to facilitate their swimming, lay eggs out of water and can not retract their head and legs into their shells in true turtle fashion. Each year female turtles come to shore, dig a small hole in the sand and lay over 100 eggs. They then complete their nest by covering the hole with sand. On average they make about 5-8 nest each season. When baby sea turtles hatch it’s a race to the shore before the seagulls find them. Apart from nesting Sea Turtles pretty much stay in the ocean, hanging out around reefs and diving up to 3,000 ft. deep.
Today all our remaining kinds of sea turtles are at the risk of going extinct. Every variation is currently on the extinction list, the Hawkbill and Kemps Ridley you will see in the chart below are marked as “Critically Endangered” which means if their numbers do not increase they very well may go extinct very soon. Fishing nets, strings, etc. that fly off boats or are discarded into the ocean and left there create death traps for a shocking number of sea turtle deaths, they become entangled and can’t swim to the surface or limbs are wrapped up which eventually leads to infections or deformities. Many countries where people eat turtle meat and eggs, have a severe issue with people hunting Sea Turtles and taking all of the eggs out of their nest. Another main contributor to threats to their survival is pollution, their numbers notably diminished after the recent oil spills along with places like the Pacific Trash Island and mass chemical runoffs into the water.
Want to help Sea Turtles out? The Sea Turtle Conservancy has an excellent page, some of our favorite suggestions were :
» Don’t litter! If something blows off the boat it makes a difference if it’s retrieved. If you have a cook out make sure to not leave anything behind. A personal effort goes a long way and if you’re looking to go beyond – get some friends together and do a casual beach clean up one day!
» Go shopping! Any online shopping from any website can be searched through this website: GoodSearch.Com (no upcharge to you) to donate money for Sea Turtle conservation. The platform has partnered with the Sea Turtle Conservatory and already raised almost $2,000.
» Get published! Most local newspapers are happy to feature passion pieces that are submitted, write your own quick summary on sea turtles and inspire your community to get active about their preservation!
» Donate your outdated phones! They even pay for the shipping, so all you have to do is round up the retired electronics and send them off for a good cause. Set up a donation today and ask coworkers or family if they’d like to get rid of any too!
» Adopt a turtle with your friends! Or get one for your family! It’s more affordable and more fun, you can adopt a sea turtle of you own to donate to and monitor. For $30 a month you all get to be proactive about the cause, a full membership package of products and can even track your turtle via satellite whenever you’d like and they have an option to name your own green turtle!