The Sea Turtles of South Florida
Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
The Turtle was named by Richard Kemp who found the first specimen with his wildlife loving buddy Ridley Pinder. Both gentlemen resided in Key West in the 1800's. These turtles are almost extinct and they are also the smallest in size averaging a little over two feet in length. They nest in South Padre Island, TX yet also appear in South Florida mostly near the keys. They love jellyfish and starfish yet tend to eat human trash and many have been lost due to this tragedy.
Leatherneck Sea Turtle
They are the largest, fastest, deepest diving and strongest of all the sea turtles. They measure in a whopping 8' feet and weigh several hundred pounds. They are not dangerous to humans but please do not approach them and if you see a plastic bag in the ocean pick it up as soon as possible because leatherneck tend to mistake them for jellyfish.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Endangered just like some species of Hawks used to be they also resemble a Hawk in the beak area and in color. The shell of the hawksbill is highly coveted by collectors for its intriguing patterns. Illegal to sell in the U.S. they can be purchased while vacationing in Haiti but is it politically correct to buy such a thing? Perhaps scold them for selling the shells! These turtles live near coral reefs which are abundant in sponges because a good portion of diet comes from sponges and jellyfish.
Green Sea Turtle
Green Turtles are known as green primarily based on the green hue they exude from their fat yet the interesting fact is that they are also the only turtle in the ocean to consume a green (vegetarian) diet. They consume seaweed. They are endangered yet there is still enough population in our area to receive about 1600 nests every year.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The loggerhead is not an endangered species thanks to citizens and environmentalists doing their job to protect them. Although as many as 60,000 of them may visit out shores and vacation with us in the summertime the fact that they are the most common of the sea turtle does not mean that their numbers could not start to dwindle if we fall back on sanitary responsibility. These big beauties have large heads and strong jaws hence the name logger head. Their eggs are still considered a delicacy in some countries.
Sea Turtles will travel a couple thousands miles from home yet somehow they are smart enough to find their way back to Lauderdale-by-the-sea beach each and every year! If you happen to see a roped off area in the beach or an area with plastic ribbons in the summertime please do not go near it and do not shine light in that area in the night time.