Marine Turtles

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Please note that many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates etc... are protected under law and that, even with the best of intentions, only someone holding a relevant licence from the National Parks & Wildlife Service should attempt the care of these animals.  For full details, please click here to read the NPWS Checklist of protected & rare species in Ireland.  If you are concerned about a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife ranger - click here for details.

"Around the world, marine turtles now face a threat to their survival. They are hunted at sea and slaughtered on the beach as they lay their eggs. The eggs and meat are taken as food while the skins and shells are processed into ornaments and jewelry. As a result local populations of marine turtles around the world have dropped to dangerously low levels". 

What are Marine Turtles?
Marine turtles also called sea turtles are large air - breathing reptiles that remain relatively unchanged in the same form as their ancestors did 200 million years ago. During the course of their evolution (how they developed, evolved) their ribs, vertebrate, and bony plates, eventually fused under a protective covering, but really they have changed very little. Marine turtles have even outlived the dinosaurs! 

Their body temperature fluctuates depending on the environmental conditions, as like in all reptiles. (Our body temperature is fairly constant at 37 Degrees Celsius, and rarely fluctuates). They reproduce by internal fertilization, and lay their eggs on land, and the baby turtles appear exactly the same as the adults, just miniature versions. On average a female turtle will lay 100 eggs per sitting, but unfortunately due to heavy human and environmental pressures 99 of these will die, leaving only one to survive and return to the same beach 35 years from then to reproduce again, a staggering statistic, showing the urgent need to help these creatures. Marine turtles are different to their terrestrial and freshwater relatives (tortoises and terrapins) by their flattened, paddle-like limbs. The head and limbs cannot be retracted into their shell.

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Presenter: Derek Mooney

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