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RARE LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE SPOTTED OFF BRITISH COAST
The turtle was spotted by a sailor off the Dorset coast. It is believed the turtle mistook the warm waters of Britain for the Canary Islands where it usually migrates to at this time of the year
‘At first I thought it might be a giant ocean sunfish but then it surfaced about 30ft away and I could see it was a huge turtle.’
‘I was quite surprised to see it – turtle sightings are rare enough in UK waters but afterwards I found out it was a very rare loggerhead turtle.
‘I have done a lot of diving abroad and seen turtles before but I have never seen one in the UK.
Visits to British shores from loggerheads are incredibly rare, with the last reported sighting of a lin Dorset in 1938.
In 2012 there were 45 sightings of the more common leatherback turtles in UK waters, but only four loggerheads were spotted which were all dead.
Dr Peter Richardson, a biodiversity programme manager for the Marine Conservation Society, said: ‘To see an adult loggerhead in British waters is quite unusual.
‘We do get them coming to our waters occasionally but they are usually stray juveniles with a very low tolerance for our cold waters
‘This loggerhead will have almost certainly come from the east coast of the USA and will have been drawn here by our unusually warm waters.
‘The recent warm weather not only heated up our seas but also resulted in very healthy jellyfish stocks which turtles feed on.
‘Loggerheads will travel great distances from their feeding to their breeding grounds and the likelihood is once our waters start cooling down this turtle will head home.’
Loggerheads are the most temperate species of marine turtle, with breeding grounds in the Mediterranean and the east coast of the USA.
They only feed in waters above 15C and cannot survive in waters colder than 10C.
The turtles, whose latin name is Caretta caretta, nest on beaches and get their name from their unusually large heads.
They feed on crabs, mussels, clams and jellyfish, and can weigh up to 400lbs.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2400849/Rare-sea-turtle-mistakes-unusually-warm-British-waters-Canary-Islands-Dorset-coast.html#ixzz2cxFTgfIG
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