Posted: Jan 25, 2013 3:32 PM by Meteorologist Juan Acuña
Updated: Jan 25, 2013 3:36 PM
PORT ARANSAS- It was busy day down at the Animal Rehabilitation Keep, or ARK, as local biologists tagged new sea turtles that have washed ashore from the cold.
Local biologist expert, Tony Amos, said it is rather normal for this time of year to see an increase of green sea turtles washing up along the coastline.
"What's happening is due to the cold water temperatures some of them are getting disorientated and just unable to really prevent themselves from getting washed up either on the beach or on the jetty rocks, or various places and just floating on the surface," said Amos.
With the fluctuation of temperatures in South Texas warming up and then suddenly dropping with a strong cold front, the sea turtles can become confused and eventually float to the shore.
Amos said, "We call these ‘cold stunning events' because literally the animal gets stunned as if they were popped on the head, their just, the cold just causes them to become torpid and just float."
Those turtles that wash ashore along the South Texas coast are lucky because they are brought to the keep and are nursed back to good health. In addition, the turtles are tagged with micro-chips, similar to those implanted on cats and dogs, and this provides research information to Amos and his team on the migration patterns of the green turtles.
"So little we know about the migration, we know that these green turtles, these are the vegetarians of the sea turtle world and they feed on the algae on the jetties and things, but they don't stay here until they get really big," Said Amos
In fact, only 5 green sea turtles have nested along the entire Texas coast and all of those were in the Padre Island National Seashore.
Today was especially a good day because nine green sea turtles were released this morning back into the gulf and these were turtles that washed up late last year and earlier this month.
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