Turtles’ hidden talents revealed in new research

Turtles’ hidden talents revealed in new research

TURTLES can see colour, have a memory, and some travel up to 4000km in the sea without stopping for food, new research shows.

They love the colour blue and can solve basic puzzles that reveal a memory span of at least nine months, studies found.

Turtle lovers yesterday “shellebrated” World Turtle Day to mark the ancient marine creature that dates back to the dinosaur age – with a survival rate of one in 1000 living to adulthood.

“We know the ocean is polluted, we know turtles eat plastic, we know about boat strikes,’’ James Cook University’s Associate Professor Ellen Riel said.

“Turtles have been here a long time, and they haven’t changed, but the environment is changing.”

It comes as a new study by Aboriginal rangers shows the green turtle population south of Bowen is up by 150 per cent.

WWF-Australia’s Darren Grover said it was a positive sign.

“These majestic creatures still face many challenges. But this study shows that given the right conditions green turtles can rebound.’’

Lady Elliot Island marine biologist Jacinta Shackleton, renowned on Instagram for her stunning images of undersea life, said she loved turtles because they were a funny, curious animal.

“They are friendly and extremely relaxed around humans,’’ she said.

“Their journey from hatchling to adulthood is amazing.

“Very few hatchlings will reach maturity about one in 1000, which actually increases to one in 10,000 when human interference is added in.”

Ms Shackleton said the odds were against the hatchlings as they tried to avoid predators such as seagulls, monitor lizards and crabs on the beach, and even more predators awaiting their arrival in the waters.

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