Recent heat waves in Florida have caused the sand on some beaches to get so hot that 99 percent of sea turtles born were female. When a female turtle digs a nest on the beach, the temperature of the sand is what determines the sex of the hatchling.
Bette Zirkelbach is the manager of the Turtle Hospital, which has been open and operating since 1986. The hospital is located in Marathon, a city in the Florida Keys, and Zirkelbach told Reuters that the last four summers in Florida have been the hottest summers on record.
“Scientists that are studying sea turtle hatchlings and eggs have found no boy sea turtles, so only female sea turtles for the past four years,” Zirkelbach said.
Zirkelbach said that an Australian study showed similar data of most sea turtle babies being female.
According to NOAA’S National Ocean Service, if a turtle’s eggs incubate below 81.86 Fahrenheit, the turtle hatchlings will be male. However, if they incubate above 88.8 Fahrenheit, they will be female.
Zirkelbach believes that climate will continue to affect the future of turtles and more work will need to be done to save these species. “The Turtle Hospital was the first. But, sadly and fortunately, there’s a need all throughout Florida.”
The climate crisis is interfering with so many ecosystems all over the world, and it is affecting animals. As climate change decimates on earth, animal suffering worsens. Arctic animals’ movement patterns have shifted, birds are nesting almost a month early, male dragonflies are losing ornate patterns on their wings, and many other animals are being affected.
This article by Hailey Kanowski was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 10 August 2022. Lead Image Source : Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.
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