Stormy nights

We sure have battled some pretty intense storms out there on the beach the last couple of nights!  Unfortunately, it’s been quiet this week with the leatherbacks on Juno.  As of last night, we have only encountered one turtle all week.

The turtle was spotted on south Juno on Tuesday night, just before midnight.  She was an untagged turtle, so biologists applied flipper tags and a PIT tag.  The turtle was named “Mac” and luckily, we found her just before a big storm passed through the area!  Mac was smaller than average, at 141 cm long, but a very healthy-looking turtle!  We hope that this was one of her first nests of the season and that we will see her again soon.

Our researchers captured the photo below of Mac as she was covering her nest.  The photo was taken without a flash, using only red lights (the photo was edited to black and white for quality).  Activities performed by LMC staff are permitted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Mac_051716_eye secretions

This photo shows eye secretions dripping past the turtle’s mouth; these secretions are actually highly concentrated salty solutions.  Sea turtles excrete excess salt from their bodies via a salt glad that is located near the eye, and the result is a thick mucous that looks like tears!  LMC biologists are sampling these eye secretions to see if they contain valuable chemical components which can help us assess the health of the leatherbacks throughout the nesting season.  Who knew that salty mucous could be so valuable?!