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How Invasive Species Threaten Sea Turtles

How Invasive Species Threaten Sea Turtles

March 04, 2019

How Do Invasive Species Threaten Sea Turtles?

Although hard shells known as carapaces protect sea turtles, they remain threatened by other predators. The most difficult time for a sea turtle is arguably the first few months. Most of a sea turtles threats can be found on beaches, from the time the mother lays her eggs to the moment the hatchlings reach the ocean.

Sea Turtle Eggs and Hatchlings Are Threatened Wide Array of Predators

Some predators attack the adult sea turtles, but the most vulnerable ones are those that are still hatchlings or eggs. At this young age, the sea turtles are threatened by animals such as cats, dogs, boars, raccoons, and also ghost crabs.  They don’t just target visible sea turtles. Sometimes, they even dig up the egg even when the nest is at least 2 feet below.

Even after emerging from the shells and becoming hatchlings, there is still a lingering smell of the egg on their bodies. Moreover, there is the scent of wet sand clinging to their body that makes hatchlings an easy prey to predators even if they are at a distance. Besides the predator threats mentioned above, sea turtles are also targeted by fire ants and feral dogs.

Even in the water, there are threats of predators that make hatchlings vulnerable. When the eggs hatch and begin to head towards the water, the predators include night herons, gulls, and other huge birds. With all these threats, there are fewer eggs able to reach adulthood according to concerned groups.

Adult Sea Turtles Are Targeted As Well

Both young and adult sea turtles are a target of predators, particularly when the sea turtles begin to go to the water. When they are not on land, they can be targeted by ocean animals such as large fish, orcas, and sharks. As sea turtles are meant to be in the water, they are vulnerable to predators on land such as dogs.

The Threat of Human Predators

Animal predators are not the only one to invade in sea turtles, humans are too. Humans are this sea creature’s biggest predator, hunting sea turtles for their meat, eggs, shells, skins, and oil. The threat of humans has been the most significant factor in the decimating populations of the turtle. It’s not only the human’s hunting them that are being invasive.

Similarly, the actions of ordinary humans that destroy the sea turtle’s natural nesting places are a factor as well. When their nesting place is invaded, hatchlings naturally make way to the ocean prematurely and become prey to predators on water. Many actions of humans make them a predator to sea turtles.

Protecting Sea Turtles

There is a way for you to help protect sea turtles against danger, especially if you live in the coastal area. Simple actions like not letting your dog or cat loose as well as not feeding the wildlife is a great help already. Also, watch out for the sea turtles when you go on boating and as much as you can, don’t disturb their nesting places.



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