Do Barnacles Hurt Turtles?
Barnacles are parasitic crustaceans that often attach themselves to turtles. These adhesions can cause long-term harm to turtles, and it is important to be informed about this issue so you can help protect them.
What Are Barnacles?
Barnacles are aquatic invertebrates that attach themselves to rocks, wood, and sometimes turtles. While there are dozens of species of barnacle, the most common turtle barnacle is a small, circular species known as Chelonibatos niger.
How Do Barnacles Harm Turtles?
Barnacles cause harm to turtles in a number of ways:
- Weight: Barnacles are heavy and can cause the turtle to float abnormally. This can make it difficult for the turtle to swim and can cause the turtle to be more vulnerable to predators.
- Infection: Barnacles can also compromise the turtle’s shell and can leave it vulnerable to infection.
- Hindrance: Having multiple barnacles on its shell can impede a turtle’s ability to swim and forage for food or lay eggs.
How Can We Help?
Turtles infected with barnacles should be given immediate care by a specialist. Removing the barnacles can be done using brushes, blades, or ultrasound therapy, and the affected area should be monitored regularly to ensure it is healing properly.
In addition, keeping turtles’ habitats clean and avoiding pollutants is a great way to help ensure they stay barnacle-free. Throw away any plastics or garbage you might find at the beach or in the ocean to keep these areas clear for turtles and other marine creatures.
Barnacles can cause serious harm to turtles, from physical weight to infections and hindrance. It is important to monitor turtles’ shells closely as well as keep their habitats clean and free of pollutants to help keep them safe.
If you ever encounter a turtle with barnacles, it is best to seek help from a qualified professional. Especially if a large barnacle population has been detected, the turtle may require more intensive treatment to ensure their health.