Sea turtles

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Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

Loggerhead turtles and Green turtles nest on the Queensland coast at Noosa - both are endangered at State, National and International levels. They are found around the globe, travelling massive distances between their inshore seagrass and seaweed feeding sites and sandy beach breeding grounds each year.

Hatchlings and young turtles drift in the open ocean for years, eating small animals in and near patches of floating seaweed. They start breeding between 10 and 30 years of age and can live up to 70-90 years.

While they mostly live in the ocean, some land-based threats can affect them, particularly during nesting and hatching (Nov-Feb).

Land based threats

Eroded foredunes: If the frontal dunes are too steep turtles won’t be able to climb them. They are more likely to lay their eggs at the foot of the dunes, where they are more vulnerable to flooding, getting washed away or crushed by vehicles.

Foxes, wild dogs and domestic dogs: They sniff out the eggs, dig them up and eat them.  

Hard plastic, soft plastic, inflated and burst balloons look like food to turtles: They can block and fill turtle stomachs and intestines, causing starvation, illness, and death. Biodegradable plastic and balloons still cause problems as they don’t break down quickly or reliably enough and often break down into microplastics.

Light: Baby turtles move towards the brightest light they can see, thinking it is the moon shining over the ocean. They are easily confused by artificial lights on the land, and may end up lost in the dunes, in drains or on roads.

Climate change: Higher sand temperatures during incubation means that less males are being hatched. Sea level rise and increasing storm occurrence and intensity means that nests are more likely to be flooded or washed away and frontal dunes are more likely to be eroded and steep, preventing turtle access. Climate change mitigation measures like sea walls or beach nourishment can also cause problems.

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Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

How you can help sea turtles

  • Protect dune and foreshore vegetation to better protect the dunes and beach and minimise light shining though.
  • Minimise the amount of light from your property visible from the beach.
  • Keep dogs and kids out of the dunes during nesting season and don’t allow them to dig.
  • Report coastal wild dogs and foxes to Noosa Council
  • Report foxes and wild dogs to your local council.
  • Prevent plastic rubbish escaping into the environment and pick it up when you see it as litter. Don’t just do this near the coast - all stormwater, rivers and creeks drain eventually into the sea.
  • Don’t release balloons or use helium balloons. Deflate and bin after use.
  • Avoid buying new plastic items – buy second hand or replace with durable, multi-use and truly biodegradable materials
  • Keep a long way away from nesting turtles and turn your torch off.
  • Report nests and tracks to Coolum and North Shore Coast Care turtle monitoring team on 0478 435 377.
  • Report stranded, ill or dead turtles to Marine Animal Stranding Hotline - 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) or Coolum Northshore Coastcare turtle monitoring team on 0478 435 377 ASAP. Do not put them back in the water even if alive – they are probably ill and are likely to drown.
  • Join or support the Coolum and Northshore Coastcare turtle monitoring team
Sea turtles green turtle eating plastic

Green turtle eating plastic

For more information