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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spotlight: Turtles

Man, I love turtles. Don't you? I've seen literally hundreds of marine turtles closeup. And yet, every time I see a new one, I am just instantly drawn to it. I like to swim alongside them, to watch them gracefully wave their flippers, to observe them dipping their beaks above the surface for a breath and then plunging back downward. Finding Nemo captures their admirably mellow attitude perfectly.

I've had the good fortune to swim with wild sea turtles in St. John, Barbados, and Hawaii (where the photos below were taken):






But none of these experiences compares with the opportunities we had to interact with turtles in Belize. We observed many turtles there and I was able to get many good photos and videos.

There are 3 species of turtle that are most likely to be seen in Belize. The endangered loggerhead turtle most common. It can be distinguished by the five pairs of large scutes (big scales) that run down its back:





Less common is the endangered green sea turtle. We only spotted one of these during our Jan 2010 trip. It can be distinguished by the four pairs of scutes running down the top of the shell:



The third species, the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, was not spotted during our 2010 trip. Hopefully we'll see on in 2011!

Here is a video compilation of some of the turtle spotting in the Jan 2010 trip:
video


Don't you just love turtles?

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