We recently went on a road trip to the coast of Georgia to meet sea turtles. We were so excited to go to Jekyll Island and to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where they work very hard to help injured and sick sea turtles. They also do a great job of educating people (and elephants and horses) about sea turtles and how we can help protect them.
We started off the day riding around Jekyll on bikes. Ok, we were in a bag on the back of a bike, but riding no less. We love seeing the ocean and coastal waters of our home state!
Here we are in front of the water on Jekyll Island
As we watched the water we saw a few dolphins swim by us! That was awesome! Unfortunately they were too fast to get pictures.
After riding around and seeing all the big beautiful houses that are part of the Jekyll Island Club, we made it to the Sea Turtle Center.
Georgia Sea Turtle Center
As we entered the center, we were so excited to meet some sea turtles. Little did we know that they had such a great exhibit room with loads of information! We first spotted this funny fish in an aquarium.
Fish in aquarium!
We aren’t sure what kind of fish it is, but we love his googly eyes! Do any of you have any idea what kind of fish he is?
Right next to that fish’s aquarium was a giant window that looked into the turtle hospital exam room. It was great to be able to see an actual an exam being done on a Green sea turtle. The center also had a nice lady sitting there to answer any questions we had.
Sea Turtle Center exam and surgery room
If you look closely you’ll see that they were doing an exam on a Green sea turtle. The sign also says the turtle was getting a shell cleaning. Sea turtles often have a problem with excessive barnacles growing on their shell (also called the carapace). This can slow the turtle down so it is important to clean them off their shells.
Staff giving the exam
Green Sea Turtle during his exam. It was good to see the vet staff working so hard to make sure this turtle gets the best care they can give it.
The center has so much great information! This picture shows one of the informational stations!
Information on sea turtle survival
It told us all about the threats to sea turtles, including trash. Did you know that sea turtles and other marine animals mistake people’s trash for food? LOne of the sea turtle’s favorite prey is jellyfish. If they come across plastic grocery bags in the water they mistake them for jellies and eat the bag. Obviously plastic bags are not food! They also get fish hooks caught in their mouths and throats! Both plastic bags and fish hooks are something we can prevent the turtles from eating by disposing of them properly.
Info on how to help sea turtles
You can even adopt a sea turtle at the center! No silly you can’t bring it home and put it in your bathtub, but giving to the center helps them take care of the turtles!
Did you know that there are 7 species of sea turtles? They are Loggerhead, Green, Leatherback, Hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, Olive Ridley and Flatback. The center has replicas of each one hanging from the ceiling and cool information about each one below them!
Sea Turtle replicas
More sea turtles
Do you know which species is the biggest? If you said Leatherback, you’re right! We met a Leatherback laying her eggs in Indonesia once- it was AWESOME!
Here we are learning fun facts about Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles
Not only could you view a sea turtle getting an exam, but they had a very small turtle at the center. Her name was Kathy.
Young sea turtle Kathy.
The Center and other researchers from the Georgia coast record how many sea turtle nests are laid each year. Did you know that sea turtles come back to the same shore where they hatched to lay their eggs when they are adults? As of late August there were almost 2000 nests in Georgia! Wow that is a bunch of baby turtles (also called hatchlings). Did you know there are numerous volunteers and workers who protect and check on the nests during nesting season?We love people who help wildlife.
Sign showing how many nests there are in Georgia
We went outside the main center to the hospital where sick and injured turtles are cared for and housed.
Here we are outside the Sea Turtle Hospital! Be very quiet!
We also discovered that the center has a few other turtles, including box turtles and terrapins.
Box turtles in a yard next to the hospital
A very teeny tiny terapin! It was only about the size of a half dollar!
The sea turtles in the hospital had all kinds of injuries and illnesses. We took a few pictures in the hospital, but we wanted to be extra quiet for the patients.
Karen the sea turtle in her tank
Each turtle has a sheet that explains their illness and treatment. Humbolt had eaten a hook
The turtles have to be kept in smaller tubs to keep them from swimming too much. They need their rest; just like you do when you’re not feeling well. Here’s a list of some of their current patients, http://www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org/our-patients/sea-turtle-patients/current-patients/.
As we exited the Center we looked up in the gift shop and saw an enormous turtle hanging above us! Imagine our surprise! It was a replica of an ancient sea turtle from the Crustaceous period. This turtle swam in the oceans around 74 million years ago. It was called Archelon ischyros. This turtle was 7 feet long and weighed around 11,300 lbs! That is one big turtle! Anyone have a truckload of jellies handy?
Archelon ischyros hanging in the gift shop
The skull of the giant sea turtle! My what a big beak you have!
Info on the giant sea turtle! This fossil was found in South Dakota! WOW!
We had the best day at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center! We hope everyone makes a trip to visit this very special place! Say hi to the turtles for us if you go! As we left we decided to take a few fun shots!
The center has turtle stepping stones! FUN!
A sea turtle made out of bricks at the entrance!We look very little !