I was brought a baby leatherback turtle that washed up on a beach in the South Peninsula. They are quite rare, so it was a treat and privilege to see one at close quarters. Unfortunately it died before we could get it to the Two Oceans Aquarium. It is interesting to see how the underneath of the shell is black and white striped to camouflage it from predators swimming underneath it. The stripes break up the turtle’s outline and also imitate ripples on the water surface, illusions that help to protect it.
The leatherbacks breed in the KZN waters, and eggs are laid on the northern KZN beaches. When the babies get washed down to our waters by heavy seas or strong winds, like the one brought to us they end up suffering from hypothermia. The few that make it to adulthood in warmer seas can get to a hefty 1.5 tons!
If any turtles are washed up it is important to keep them dry and warm by covering them with a towel and then contacting either Evanne on 0847115413 or Two Oceans Aquarium on 021 418 3823.