Texas Turtle Trouble

Texas Turtle Trouble, By David Dancey-Wood 21/02/2021

With all the terrible scenes we have been witnessing on our news of late from the scenes in Texas, I thought I might like to comment on the situation.

What I am particularly referring to is of course the plight of thousands of sea turtles that have been caught up in yet another enviromental disaster. Some might just call it freaky weather, or just a long-term weather pattern cycle, but to me, it stinks of more fallout from our ongoing problem with global warming. Scientists have already predicted that freakish colder weather storms could start to become the norm due to the warming arctic pushing colder weather south. I’m no scientist, and I haven’t got a clue how these things work, but as the storms become more frequent and weather is on the change it is obvious something is happening.

I have a particular interest in this story as I am a lifelong lover of all things Chelonia; for those of you not in the know, that is all things turtle and tortoise. I have kept turtle most of my life, written many articles about them for books and magazines, and even did my dissertation on the husbandry of freshwater Chelonia. So when images of thousands of threatened turtles start appearing on the evening news I am certainly all ears.

The problem for the sea turtles is that they just cannot cope with the sudden severe drop in temperatures. It slows down their system and if left alone they actually drown. I cannot commend enough the volunteers and workers who have worked night and day to try to help these poor animals. I hope it will contribute to their recovery. My thoughts are that as turtles can slow their metabolism right down, they might survive the cold snap if put into safety. However, the danger is that this can make them susceptible to pneumonia which many could develop over the coming weeks as they start to warm up. Many may also die just because of shock and stress, but let’s hope it will be just a few and that the majority will overcome.

I think we can expect more scenes like this as our weather changes across the globe and impacts on some very delicate and specialist environments needed for animals. As with the turtles, I hope people will step up and be there to help out when it’s needed. After all, it is us that owe them, they didn’t make the situation. Turtles have been swimming in our oceans since the time of the dinosaurs. What a shame it would be if they came to die out in the small blip of time that humans have dominated the planet. Even worse would be that it happened during our generation.

It is thought that one Loggerhead turtle that has been rescued in Texas is over 150 years old, let’s hope he makes it for a good few more years to come.