Turtles: Species Protection plan Essay


Turtles are classified as reptiles and are found in las Angeles, California. There are three native species of turtles in California and four non-native turtles besides the sea turtles. The naturalist map has made observations about turtles in LA. The species include spiny softshell turtle, Texas spiny softshell turtle, Florida softshell turtle, pond and box turtle, western pond turtle, painted turtle, western painted turtle. Turtles, for example, the spiny softshell, has a wide range which extends throughout most part of the united states, including north and even the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. It also goes into the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Chihuahua.


Turtles can be majorly found in freshwater bodies which include rivers, lakes, streams, tributaries, and ponds. Turtles can be found in shallow water but can also be found as far as 10 meters deep. In areas with varying levels of vegetation, turtles can also be found. Turtles are known to feed on a variety of foodstuffs. They feed on fish, insects, crayfish, plant materials, algal stocks, and mussels. Turtles are termed as benthic feeders. They can vigorously hunt prey or entomb themselves in the sand wait to trap the prey. Turtles are bimodal breathers. They have the ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide through breathing air or while they are underwater. Turtles depend mostly on respiration underwater as compared to other freshwater species. The underwater respiration has helped during hibernation.

Turtles start mating between the ages of 8 and 10. The mating period of turtles is in the mid-to-late spring in the deep waters. The female turtle may live up to five years. The mating process starts with male nudging the females head while swimming. If the female chooses to mate, then the male swims on top of the female without clasping her with his claws. In a few months, the female turtle lays eggs on the gravel bank she has dug next to the water. The eggs hatch during the spring and are laid around July and September. In turtles such as spiny softshell turtle, the gender of the hatchlings is not dependent on variations in temperature but determined by genetics. Animals such as foxes, raccoons, coyotes have the predation risks on the nesting sites.

The female turtle leaves the nest and each hatchling scrambles into the ocean and starts an epic solo journey of about 8000 miles around the north Atlantic basin. The young hatchlings that survive through the long migration come back to the coastal waters of North America in around 6 to 12 years that is after they have grown larger for most types of predators of birds and fish that are found in large populations in the coastal waters to feed on them. The migration of the young turtles basically is for their safety from predators. The migration journey of the young turtles is among the longest and spectacular migrations in the whole animal kingdom. Most young turtles do not survive the migration process. Only the turtles who can swim at a high speed and are able to dive can evade most predators.

Protection and strategy.

The major challenge faced by the turtle species in Los Angeles is attacked by predators such as crayfish. Immediately after the hatchlings are left by the large female turtle, they tend to find their way into the waters where there are predators that may feed on them. Another challenge occurs during migration, the young turtles who cannot swim at high speed and are unable to dive are also at a high risk of not surviving the migration process of the turtles. The young turtles tend to die on the way naturally or killed by predators. Most turtles end up dying due to unfavorable environmental conditions. The population of the turtles that manage to survive the harsh conditions of the sea are very few as compared to the hatchlings that starts the long migration journey of the turtles.

Turtles can be protected from predators through a laboratory experiment that involves the exposure of young turtles that have not been in the ocean to the magnetic fields like the ones at key locations along their migratory routes. An example was observed in south Florida where the hatchlings were exposed to magnetic fields that would be encountered off Florida, Africa and Portugal. The same steering decisions made by the wild turtles as they follow their circular route were made by most of the turtles. Additionally, the experiment showed that the turtles obtain both longitudinal and latitudinal-like information found in the magnetic fields. Turtles were even found to acquire much more complicated magnetic field spatial representation as compared to how people obtain from their compasses.

There was also a suggestion from the finding that, in addition to magnetic fields for navigation, the turtles can make fast movements in the water through smart swimming. Smart swimming involves strategic swimming in the direction. The smart swimming strategy helps the turtles to preserve energy while migrating long distances. In areas where currents may carry the turtles away from the desired direction, the currents interspersed with passive drifting into the direction where the turtles want to go. The strategy of magnetic fields has helped the young turtles migrate and reach their suitable environments for survival. All the sea turtle species are endangered by the predators from the coastal waters in las Angeles.




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