Just Keep Swimming, Duuuudddeee
Did you know that turtles are a reptilian species?
It's not much of a surprise when you consider their scaly skin (paired with the fact that they're born from eggs), but I, for one, had always had it in my head as 'fish'.
Well, that's why we're here with some fun facts about turtles! Plus, we'll be sharing more information about their endangerment and how our chosen charity helps save them! Knowledge never hurt anyone, and if you're buying Bare Kind Save the Turtle socks, surely you'd love to know about turtles themselves, no?
- Their reptile group is called Testudines, and it includes tortoises and terrapins.
- This reptile group is older than crocodiles, alligators and snakes - they date back to the time of the dinosaurs! That's older than 200 million years!
- World Turtle Day is on the 23rd of May each year! It's sponsored by the American Tortoise Rescue, which serves to raise awareness about turtles and rescue them.
- World Sea Turtle Day is on the 16th of June each year and exits to honour their importance by bringing regular attention to the need for protection and conservation action for sea turtles.
- A turtle's shell is part of their skeleton, including their spine and ribcage and totals to over 50 bones!
- Thus, their shells grow with them, and they can't exit it since it's, literally, part of them. Could you imagine detaching your arm? I.e. turtle shells aren't like clothes.
- Baby turtles generally start off being carnivores, but as they grow, their tastes become more refined, and they eat more plants. As a result, turtles are omnivores by the time they reach adulthood.
- Overall, turtle diets vary depending on their habitat: land turtles prefer beetles, fruit and grass, whilst sea turtles behave like gluttons and eat everything from algae to squishy marine creatures like squid and jellyfish!
- As amniotic animals, turtles breathe air and lay eggs on land but will live in or around bodies of water.
- Turtles...have an ear... on their nose, as well as two on either side of their head!
- This is somewhat cute: so male painted turtles have long front claws. During mating season, they'll use it to tickle a female's neck, and if she lets him, they're mates!
Now, Turtle Endangerment
Of approximately 300 turtle & tortoise species, the IUCN has categorised 129 species as endangered. As far as sea turtles go, 6 of the 7 species are classified as endangered or threatened by human lifestyles and activity. Bonaire hosts 3 of the 6 endangered marine turtles: the green, the hawksbill and the loggerhead turtles.
Habitat crises, illegal poaching and pet trade are the biggest reasons for their decreasing numbers. The IUCN lists the following as causes:
Death after entanglement is among the most severe consequences for turtles caught by fishing nets intended to capture other creatures.
i.e. illegal poaching for various reasons: food, oil, leather, medicines and even religious ceremonies. Whilst the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prohibits international trade of all sea turtles and their parts, illegal trafficking persists.
Degradation of coastal areas harms turtle habitats, and since they're amniotic animals, this causes a great deal of harm for them, especially for turtle species using the shore for laying their eggs.
Seafloor alterations can also damage marine turtle eggs. Coastal developments at fault are nesting beach degradation, seafloor dredging, vessel traffic, construction, and alteration of vegetation.
Plastics, plastics, plastics! Straws! This is actually what sparked the start of Bare Kind. Lucy was horrified after seeing turtles suffering from plastic straws in their noses, so she started by making reusable metal straws of excellent quality and stylish design. Then she moved on to our infamous bamboo socks, saving more and more species with each year!
In any case, discarded fishing gear, petroleum byproducts and debris greatly harm and kill sea turtles alongside plastic waste. Light pollution also causes concern because it can result in the death of hatchlings, reducing their already weak numbers. Chemical pollutants will further reduce their health due to toxicity weakening turtle immune systems, causing illness.
The increased frequency of extreme weather fluctuations and events results in habitat damage. From the loss of nesting habitats to oceanographic process alterations, turtles suffer. Since the species sex ratio is determined by the temperature of the eggs before hatching, climate change results in a great imbalance in the males and females for turtle populations. Warmer temperatures result in reduced male hatchlings. Further, it increases the likelihood of disease outbreaks due to abnormal weather patterns.
The Turtle Foundation
Bare Kind's bamboo socks save endangered animals. We know that and you know that. 10% of profits on our Save the Turtle socks go towards Turtle Foundation, which aims to create a future where sea turtles and their habitats are sustainably conserved and protected from extinction and destruction. They develop various projects in target areas with the help of local communities and, last year, the Bare Kind community raised enough money with our Save the Turtle socks to sponsor 70 hatchlings in Sumatra! After an extinction scare, The Turtle Foundation was elated to find the first female leatherback to appear on the Buggeisiata beach of Sipora for nesting season after two years! Then, the first hatchlings successfully reached the sea... and we helped keep them alive and taken care of!
The Foundation is also protecting 30 km of nesting beach land in Cape Verde, amongst several other initiatives built to help turtles thrive with people. Check out their Indonesian and Boa Vista projects!
Save more Turtles today!