As one of the most majestic animals in the UK, the turtle is a unique species. They are very impressive, known for their comfortable lifestyles and incredible feats of aging. However, while we mostly associate the turtle with wisdom, knowledge and grandeur, they sometimes can be the subject of horror. Indeed, this recent find in the United Kingdom is one that would shock most people: a boat-size zombie turtle!
While it’s not alive and feasting on the brains of other turtles, the horrifying scale of waste on its skeleton is horrifying to look at. It was found when Richard Pears and James Mustoe were out and about with James’ kids, Barnaby and Reuben. They were heading around the beach of Polkerris, Cornwall, when they came across their gargantuan discovery.
Speaking to IFLScience, Mustoe said: “We saw this thing floating in the water from a way off and didn't have a clue what it could be,
“I was stunned – it was shocking,"
“When we realized what it was, it was very sad but also seeing something that rare and that size just bobbing in the sea like that must be a once in a lifetime encounter. I told my children it would be something they could tell their grandchildren about in years to come.”
What they had found bobbing up and down like a buoy was the decomposing body of the leatherback turtle. Indications that the turtle was a century old – perhaps older – were clear, too. At least it was able to lead a happy, fulfilling life, right?
The fact that a leatherback turtle was so near the beaches of Cornwall might seem odd. However, these creatures are fairly nomadic, and do a good job of getting around the world – they often appear in locations all across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. However, Mustoe was right: to spot one near the UK is a very rare opportunity indeed.
They are supposedly quite laid-back, and don’t mind winding up in new locations. However, if you see one and it is alive, you should contact some form of coast guard: they are presently listed as a “vulnerable” species. The general population is going down, and we need to do something to try and change that: if you see one of these majestic animals struggling, try and do something.
From climate change to pollution through to accidental catching, these amazing animals should be protected at all costs. While it might be amazing to see one so up-close, we’d much rather it was alive and kicking!
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