Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sea Turtle

part 5:
This is the lone resident Hawksbill sea turtle at the Aquarium at Fair Park. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this one was about a foot-and-a-half long. I do not know the sex of this one. I hope I remember this correctly: Male sea turtles need good flippers for mating maneuvers, and female sea turtles need good flippers for digging nests for their eggs. This one had a damaged front flipper and a damaged rear flipper, so I guess it's pretty good that it is in the zoo rather than in the wild. One of the reasons described to me for damaged flippers is that seagulls can peck at juvenile sea turtles.

If you click on the picture, you will see some pretty good detail in the much larger photo. Sorry about the flash glare on the left!

His/her tank was in a corner, and he/she seemed fairly happy and active. Just next to the tank was a shark tank at feeding time, and I think there were only two of us in the crowd who looked at the turtle.

This is my lone experience with any sea turtle (and I'm not sure I've ever been near the natural habitat of sea turtles) , so I don't have much to add in the way of past experiences. There is another photo, a side view, below. Just a couple more photos left in this "travelogue" series.


borgwoman said...

The males have trouble mating without their front flippers, and the females have trouble digging a proper nest without back flippers.

Adult male turtles are supposed to have long tails, while females do not. But sometimes a male might have a damaged (eaten) tail, so it's not for certain that's a female. Also, this one is probably too young to have a tail anyway.

Female turtles return to shore to lay eggs. Adult females might do this three times a year. Male turtles are never supposed to return to land, so if you see one with a tail it is sick or injured.

Everything eats them (and parts of them) when they are small. At this size not much bothers them except maybe big sharks and people.

voyageur said...

Thank you for explaining about the tail. I was wondering, as the tail does look short.

At last, at long last, I have seen a sea turtle.