world turtle day

Are you excited for World Turtle Day? From tiny, cute baby turtles to massive 1,500 pound leatherbacks, these fascinating animals can be found in almost every ecosystem around the world. Carrying their shells, they’re at home wherever they roam. Human intervention has threatened some turtle species, so please make sure you don’t disturb or distract them, especially nesting sea turtles. Photo of green sea turtles at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge by Daniel W. Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

WORLD TURTLE DAY

The purpose of World Turtle Day is to “increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive”.

Here are a couple of ways that turtles are getting help.


How are these endangered baby sea turtles finding their way home? Mostly by themselves, but they get by with a little help from their friends :D From @itsokaytobesmart

Turtles grow up without parents, which might sound lonely. But for threatened baby turtles raised in a zoo it’s an advantage: they can learn to catch crickets all by themselves. There’s a paradox, though. When they are ready to leave the nursery, there is little wilderness where they can make a home.

From @kqedscience‘s DEEP LOOK

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Celebrate #WorldTurtleDay with one of our favorite tortoises, Lonesome George! Learn all about this remarkable tortoise in this short documentary.

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That brings another #WorldTurtleDay to a close. We’ll be sharing more words of wisdom from experts in the coming weeks. We leave you with this:

The American Tortoise Rescue has come up with a few things YOU can do to help turtles and tortoises this year.  

Biologists and other experts predict the disappearance of turtles and tortoises within the next 50 years. Adults and children can do a few small things that can help save turtles and tortoises for future generations.

  • Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild.
  •  Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured.  
  • If a tortoise is crossing a busy highway, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.  
  • Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off-road vehicles and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to endangered sea turtle deaths.
  • Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter.
  • Report the use of tiny turtles as prizes at carnivals and other events.  It’s illegal.
  • Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind less than four inches.  It is illegal to buy and sell them throughout the U.S.
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We asked Dr. David Steen,  @alongsideWild , what the most important thing we turtle and tortoise humans should know and this is what he said. 

What does this mean? With so many species already at risk, the loss of a single turtle or tortoise can cause an EXTREME decrease in the population as a whole.

As @Rymkrs points out, one turtle lost to us is decades of hatchlings that will never be. This is why it’s SO very important we keep wildlife wild, safe, and respected, so turtles and tortoises continue to be among the longest living creatures on our planet.

Dr. David Steen is an Assistant Research Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at Auburn University and according to @Slate the best biologist on Twitter! We agree!