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Turtle beach

Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Florida (c) Tara Gray

Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island, Florida (c) Tara Gray

South-west Florida has some of the best beaches in the world, and 5 of the 7 species of sea turtle also enjoy swimming their warm waters. These species range from the smallest sea turtle, the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, to the largest of them all, the Leatherback Sea Turtle, which grows up to an enormous 9ft long. The endangered Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas, which is mostly herbivorous, also swims elegantly through the water here, using its large paddle-like flippers to propel itself.

Awaiting the Florida sunset (c) Andrew Gray

Awaiting the Florida sunset (c) Andrew Gray

Green sea turtles migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches where they lay their eggs. Once the sun has set, female sea turtles will pull themselves out of the water onto the beach and then  go on to dig a nest and lay eggs in it overnight. After incubation, those baby turtles that hatch and go on to reach maturity may live to eighty years in the wild. However, its so sad to think that although it is illegal to collect or kill these wonderful creatures, in some countries both they and their eggs are still being illegally harvested.

Green Sea Turtle, Florida (c) Andrew Gray, 2014

Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas (c) Andrew Gray, 2014

Green turtles have a very wide distribution and the same species is found on the caribbean coastline of  Costa Rica. For most green turtles in the Caribbean the mating season is from June to September, but here in Florida its slightly later and will continue until the end of this month.

To find out more about sea turtles and their conservation please follow this link:


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