Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Why Do Sea Turtles Cry?

Sea Turtle Weekly Update

Photo by Yesenia Olvera | A lone hatchling released by Sea Turtle monitors 3 days later.

Photo by Brittany Piersma | Let’s keep the beach clean and healthy. Trash left behind on Sand Dollar Island!

For us humans, we need a good cry every now and then. So, if you are lucky enough to see a sea turtle with tears rolling down its cheek, don’t be alarmed, it has nothing do with emotion. 

According to sea turtle experts, when sea turtles crawl onto the shore to lay their eggs, they appear as if they are crying. Actually, they are not sad, and they are not crying. Their bodies are simply shedding excess salt, as well as protecting their eyes from the sand while they spend a few hours on the beachnesting. 

Sea turtles live in salty ocean water their entire life and their bodies have adapted to survive without any freshwater. Land turtles would not be able to tolerate the ocean water because of its salinity. Unlike their land cousins, sea turtles have a salt gland to rid their bodies of excess saltthis also allows them to drink saltwater while maintaining the salt balance in their bodies. This gland empties into the sea turtles’ eyes. 

According to Yesenia Olvera, sea turtles are still coming ashore to lay their eggs. False crawls are still being recorded during her morning rounds. From the last sea turtle activity report, 162 False Crawls have been recorded in Marco Island and their favored location for successful nesting and false crawls is on the beginning of Sand Dollar Island and the mangroves.  

At the beginning of the season, the main beach recorded more false crawls but as the season progressed, there was a steady decline where the mothers seem to prefer a more isolated location. 

We can all do our part to help the nesting sea turtles during this critical mid-season. If you ever encounter a sea turtle shoreremember to stay away and give a nesting mother her space, cover up any holes you dig on the beachdon’t leave trash behind and for beach residents turn off distracting lights when it’s dark.


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