Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sea Turtles

This hatchling has made it safely to the waters edge without being attacked by a gull or a reef egret. Even so its troubles are just beginning- it now has to dodge multiple predators, including a school of black-tipped reef sharks that patrol the shore line waiting for them to enter the water. Only when many of these little turtles reach the water at the same time do they have much chance in making it into the open oceans. Turtles are a fairly common sight when we dive but we only ever see full grown or nearly full growns ones, never smaller ones.

Sea turtles come ashore to lay their egss in the sand. They usually do it at night time but this one must have started late. While she is busy covering her eggs she inadvertantly uncovers some turtle hatchlings that were layed earlier in the season. This is a Green turtle. This species is the most popular for eating in other parts of the world. This is at Heron Island where they are protected...now. Before Heron Island was a national park, in its early days turtles were hunted to make soup.

A Hawksbill Turtle taking time out for a rest on the bottom. These turtle are found in warm temperate and tropical seas the world over. This one was photographed at Heron Island in Qld where they are classed as vunerable. Worldwide they are considered to be critically endangered. They feed mainly on sponges but will aslo eat soft corals, sea grass and molluscs. In other parts of the world they are exploited for their shell.

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