Good samaritans are accidentally mistaking a gopher tortoise for a sea turtle, releasing them into the ocean where they are less likely to end up as dinner for the many dangers that lurk on the beaches. Unfortunately, gopher tortoises can’t swim. 

The two shelled creatures can be distinguished by their limbs. Gopher tortoises have toes with a claw on each toe, and sea turtles have flippers, for swimming. [via]

This story has been making the rounds and I’m sure many of you have seen it. Endangered gopher tortoises are being “returned to the sea” because they are thought to be sea turtles. *sad face* 

I think the important lesson to take from this (aside from the turtle/tortoise difference) is that if you see a wild animal in distress, that’s not in immediate danger of being hit by car,  call someone who knows how to handle it to help or leave it alone. Far too often more harm is done than good, despite the best of intentions. 


Remember Sam the turtle I posted a pic of a while back? Well this is his cousin Ben. And Ben has a thing for wanting to walk down the middle of the road instead of in the turtle lane (nice safe grass). I have to help him find the turtle lane from time to time. Oh and he is so cute hissing at me like he’s scary and stuff. Once I got him in the grass he seemed to chill out. Bye Ben! Stay in the turtle lane Ben! #IStopForTurtles #turtle #wildlife #florida #YeahIPickedUpATurtle

You deserve a ton of these:

Thought I’d start the week with another incredible, inspirational, and dare I say stylish, happy ending for a sea turtle

(via Brevard Times)

COCOA BEACH, Florida — A surfer came to the rescue of a loggerhead sea turtle that was tangled in fishing lines just south of the Cocoa Beach Pier this afternoon.

The turtle’s flippers were so entangled that it could be seen gasping for air from the ocean’s surface as it struggled to free itself from the mono-filament.

Seeing the marine reptile in distress, a nearby surfer paddled over to help the sea turtle while risking a possible bite from the animal. Loggerhead sea turtles have a bite force so powerful, that they can easily tear through a conch shell – a mainstay of the turtle’s diet.

After a few minutes, the surfer had completely untangled the sea turtle and it swam away. Having done his good deed for the day, the surfer then just casually caught the next incoming wave.

Loggerhead sea turtles are listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.