Barnacles! The mere mention of the species can send shivers down the spine especially when attached to sea turtles. Most barnacles do not hurt sea turtles as they are only attached to the shell or skin on the outside. Others though burrow into the skin of the host and might cause discomfort and provide an open target area for following infections,” so excessive barnacle cover can be a sign of the general bad health of a turtle.
Barnacles are small, adhesive crustaceans related to crabs and shrimp. They are grayish-white in color and prefer to live on hard surfaces like rocks, boat hulls, and pilings. Barnacles are extremely sensitive to extreme cold or dry conditions. Barnacles are filter feeders as adults. They feed on plankton and other aquatic debris. Barnacles extract food from the water using their legs. As a result, they thrive in marine and moving waters. When barnacles are larvae, they adhere to hard surfaces. Due to the fact that barnacles require constant water movement, they will settle on any moving substrate. That is why, when a turtle comes into contact with barnacles, the barnacles become attached to the turtle’s hard shell.
They removes the barnacles using a knife, which is not easy work. In the end, all the barnacles are removed and the turtle is brought back to the beach and into the ocean. You can feel the turtle’s excitement as it moves its legs in anticipation of reaching the water. Once put down, it swimé as quickly as it can toward the sea. Although we can’t exactly judge a turtle’s emotions, it does seem like this little guy is quite happy to be set free and barnacle-free.
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Video resource: LITTLE PAWS