You might have guessed it a few weeks back, when we posted about watching the release of 44 Hawksbill turtles back in to the wild on National Day, when it comes to turtles, we have a bit of a weak spot. And who wouldn’t? These heart warming animals are amongst the cutest and oldest on the planet. So, last night whilst scrolling through Facebook we came across a post by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project and quite simply, we couldn’t not write an article about it.
Apparently, because of the sudden drop in water temperatures in Dubai we can expect to see a lot of turtles wash up on shore this winter. The number of turtles that wash up directly correlates with the drop in water temperature. Sometimes up to 350 turtles could wash up in one winter. This is because turtles are cold blooded reptiles and rely on the warm waters around them to get their heat. When the water temperature suddenly drops this can make the turtle lethargic and sick.
If you do find a turtle that has washed up, the important thing to observe is its’ barnacle load (ie. crustaceans that attach themselves to the turtle, kind of like parasites). Normally, a healthy turtle can rid itself of barnacles by rubbing itself up against rocks. A heavy barnacle load, however, is a sign that things aren’t quite right with the turtle and it needs to be checked out. If they do have a large barnacle load please do not attempt to remove the barnacle with tools such as pliers etc. Although this is common practice, especially by fishermen, people don’t realise that it can actually cause damage to the turtle such as internal bleeding and damage to its’ shell.
If you happen to find a turtle wash up on shore, please contact the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project on 043017198 and they’ll make sure the turtle is cared for appropriately.