Bahamas Sea Turtles
Once upon a time, millions of sea turtles roamed all the oceans of the world. Today, in large part because of the threat from human fishing and fascination, far fewer inhabit the seas. Those that remain are threatened with illegal fishing and marine pollution. The most endangered is the Kemp's Ridley, which weighs less than 100 pounds and is found in Florida. In contrast, the leatherback sea turtle can tip the scales at about 1,300 pounds. If you are doing any Bahamas snorkeling, keep an eye out for the leatherneck!
Sea turtles are large reptiles with paddle-shaped flippers. The upper shell, called a carapace, differs in size, shape, and color with each species. They don't have teeth, but their jaws act as their eating utensils. They have good underwater vision but don't see well when they come ashore to build nests and lay eggs.
A Bahamas snorkeling tip to cite sea turtles can be a fascinating adventure, but remember that it is against the law to:
- interfere in any way with a sea turtle's nest
- buy or sell any part of the sea turtle or its eggs
Keep in mind that the endangered sea turtle helps to keep the world's oceans healthy. They chew seagrass, which helps to spread the seagrass blades, which gives shelter to many species in the ocean. Their eggs that are left on shore help to fertilize coastal plants. Thanks you, sea turtles, for during what humans often don't do so well!