Officials in Louisiana just made an exciting announcement! They discovered hatchlings of the world’s smallest sea turtle species on an island off the coast of New Orleans. It marks the first time the species has been in the area in 75 years.
They identified at least 53 sea turtle crawls belonging to the endangered Kemp’s ridley turtle. A sea turtle crawl is the path turtles impress in the sand as they head toward the beach. They discovered the crawls at the Breton National Wildlife Refuge on Louisiana’s Chandeleur Islands. Kemp’s ridley turtles only grow to be two feet in length, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said they observed two hatchlings go into the water in a news release.
“We were very excited to learn that sea turtles are once again using the Chandeleur Islands for nesting,” Leopoldo Miranda-Castro, a regional director with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said in the statement. “The discovery of sea turtles … is a huge step forward demonstrating the amazing resilience of fish and wildlife resources … and the importance of restoring these barrier islands to protect humans and nature.”
The tiny sea turtle species flourished in the Gulf of Mexico in the early 20th century, according to NOAA.
However, the population of nesting females shrunk to the hundreds in the region by the 1980s. Then, it landed on the endangered species list. The population regrew again in the 1990s and has fluctuated since 2010, according to the NOAA.
Ninety-five percent of Kemp’s ridley turtles nest off the coast of Mexico in the western gulf, according to the NOAA, making the Louisiana discovery especially significant.
A photo of one of the hatchlings provided by USAToday can be viewed here.
A Snapping Turtle Destroys a Snake in Crazy Video
Back in 2015, Kerry Wix was fishing at Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee. While fishing, he suddenly noticed a big northern water snake that appeared to be thrashing and headed toward a concrete spillway at the shore. However, Wix noted that despite thrashing, it couldn’t seem to move on its own. He soon discovered that a snapping turtle was the culprit.
“I couldn’t tell what was going on, but you know me: I always have a camera handy,” Wix, a professional photographer, told Field & Stream after the incident. Wix placed a GoPro beneath the surface and revealed what was getting the snake
This common snapping turtle held the snake’s tail in his clenched jaws. The turtle’s sharp claws also began shredding chunks of skin off the snake’s flesh. Then, at one point, the snake popped up out of the water and breathes. Its fangs come out, and it looks directly at the camera seemingly. However, it couldn’t release itself from the turtle.
When the snake did briefly break loose from the turtle, who was swallowing part of the snake’s flesh, it couldn’t even muster the strength to swim away. Eventually, the turtle grabbed its injured tail and chomped its jaws. The snapper kept eating and eventually scampered off near its enclave with the snake in its grip.
The video has racked up over 5 million views and can be viewed below.