That changed Nov. 18.
The two Broad Meadows Middle School seventh-graders at found the carcass of a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the world’s most endangered sea turtle.
|Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle facts|
Full of excitement, they immediately called their science teacher, Debbie Baird, at school to describe their discovery and ask if they could bring it to class.
Another Kemp’s Ridley had been found in dead in Hull on Nov. 1.
“This is very unusual,” said New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse. “In all my time, I have never seen a Kemp’s Ridley turtle washed up on the South Shore.”
While the turtle is uncommon on the South Shore, it is a familiar sight on Cape Cod.
LaCasse said 28 cold-stunned Kemp’s Ridleys have been found from Dennis to Truro in the last week, 20 of them this weekend after the rainstorm.
The Kemp’s Ridleys, which hatch off the coast of Mexico, are the smallest and most endangered sea turtles in the world.
|Rescuing a turtle|
Baby Kemp’s Ridley turtles, weighing 2 to 8 pounds, migrate as far as New England from Mexico, the Caribbean and the Carolinas to feed on crabs. In late August they swim back south to return to warmer waters.
When younger turtles encounter a strong current, they can have trouble swimming through it. As a result, they can wind up stuck in cold water and dying of hypothermia.
Last weekend, Massachusetts Audubon Society volunteers and personnel walked beaches from Eastham to Dennis and found five cold-stunned Kemp’s Ridleys and one green sea turtle.
The turtles were taken to the aquarium. Once healthy, they will be released into the wild.
Aquarium officials say the strandings are a natural occurrence as water temperatures drop.
The strandings usually start in early November. They have been delayed this year by the unusually warm temperatures.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this story.