This question has long puzzled scientists. After all, these reptiles do not drink tap water. In fact, they have an entirely different method of excreting excess salt: they secrete liquid that resembles tears. That liquid has to be filtered before it can be consumed by sea turtles. To make matters worse, tap water is filled with fluoride and chlorine, which upset the natural pH balance. The best choice is de-chlorinated or filtered water for drinking and swimming areas. Turtles may carry bacteria like Salmonella. Additionally, because reptilian kidneys are incapable of excreting large quantities of salt through urine, sea turtles developed secretory glands that help them expel excess salt from their bodies.
Cold-stunned sea turtles are lethargic
While most species of sea turtle can recover quickly from cold conditions, cold-stunned ones require the warmth of salt water to survive. These animals’ circulatory systems and heart rates are greatly decreased when the water temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Combined with a lack of salt water, cold-stunned sea turtles are lethargic and need salt water for proper recovery.
Although most cases of sea turtle strandings result from human activity, some are accidental. Many of these turtles end up on the beaches of Cape Cod. Unfortunately, they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. They may have been harmed by fishing gear or plastic. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that they’re doomed. In fact, research necropsies have yielded many discoveries.
They excrete excess salt
The osmoregulatory abilities of marine organisms include regulation of plasma and urine osmolalities. Moreover, sea turtles have salt glands on their post-orbital areas that secrete a salt solution twice as concentrated as sea water. In addition to this, the osmotic concentration of urine may be higher than plasma, allowing it to be used as an osmoregulation and waste removal system. The regulation of body fluids by sea turtles offers an important opportunity to consider fundamental concepts of vertebrate adaptation and regulation.
While feeding, sea turtles ingest large amounts of salty seawater. They therefore need an effective way to excrete the salt. The eyes and other glands in their body contain salt glands, which secrete salty liquid through their tear ducts. Because of this, these glands secrete two to three times more salty fluid than the surrounding water. The turtles are often misinterpreted as crying animals because of their excessive salt water excretion, but this is not true.
They migrate south
Why do sea turtles migrate south? Scientists believe that the ocean currents that affect sea turtles’ habitats and at-sea behaviour affect migration patterns. Changing ocean currents affect turtle migration patterns and distribution of planktonic prey. This may explain why the turtles travel thousands of miles south. It’s not clear why the turtles migrate south, but some scientists speculate that they may have had a destination in mind all along.
In southern Africa, the Agulhas Current dominates the ocean surface, flowing southwestward along the eastern coast of the continent. After laying eggs in northern South Africa, most turtles drifted southwestward in long, straight tracts at high speeds. Turtle routes were largely dependent on oceanographic features, particularly on route legs outside the seaward edge of the Agulhas Current. In some areas, the current’s prevailing currents pushed the turtles southward in circular patterns.
They are air-breathing reptiles
The evolutionary history of sea turtles is complicated. Although all turtles are in the order Testudines, they were initially thought to be closely related to lizards, tuataras, and other creatures with similar habitats. However, new DNA sequencing techniques revealed that sea turtles are more closely related to Archosaurs (birds, crocodiles, and other animals that are salt water-dependent).
Sea turtles have been on Earth for over 100 million years. They are the only animals that come ashore only to lay their eggs and bask in the sun. While they spend the majority of their lives underwater, they are adapted to living in a salt-water environment. Their large bodies and powerful front flippers allow them to dive great distances and survive on less food than their land-based relatives. Male sea turtles rarely return to shore, but females do to lay their eggs.
They are affected by sea level rise
In a recent study, scientists have correlated projected sea-level rise with the ranges of several species of coastal freshwater turtles. They found that most threatened are those in southeastern North America and Oceania, where the majority of turtles live in freshwater areas adjacent to brackish ponds. In such areas, high water levels cause brackish ponds to move into freshwater, making these turtles vulnerable to the effects of rising sea level. The researchers also found that salinity increases when water is diverted or during droughts, and many turtle species do not thrive in high salinity environments.
The recent hurricanes of Florida swept away tons of sand and buried thousands of nests. The eggs and nests lay in these beaches were exposed to seawater, and the sand buried them even deeper. In the future, sea level rise is projected to affect nesting more severely and may leave the species without enough male turtles to sustain its population. But it’s still too early to say for sure what the effects will be, especially for the endangered species.
They have large stores of oxygen in their blood
Sea turtles’ massive blood volume makes them an ideal candidate for studying the effects of salt water on their metabolism. Their blood is full of large stores of oxygen, but they require salt water to live. Sea turtles’ blood also contains a large amount of lactate, a sign of metabolic disruption. Nonetheless, the findings have gained significant attention in the academic community and government agencies. Ames presented her research findings at the Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Symposium in 2015, and she won a runner-up award in the student poster competition.
In fact, sea turtles have a way to rid their bodies of excess salt. They have salt glands behind each eye, which help them keep a balanced water level. When they shed excess salt, they release large tears. Don’t worry if you see a sea turtle crying; it’s not an indication of emotional distress. This process is natural and occurs when the turtles are eating.