Detachment from the rest of the sea turtles differ transformed into flippers feet, of which the front is much longer than the rear, and the horny-plated armor. Each leg forms a long, broad and flattened fins, which, as pointed Vagler, is very similar to the flippers of seals. Fingers dressed overall skin and so still and for the most part have no claws, only the first or the first two fingers of each foot have sharp claws. In addition, sea turtles are different heart-shaped, rounded notched front, rear pointy little convex, not fully ossified by the end of the dorsal fins shield, in which the neck and head can not fully retract, and the end can not be drawn. The individual parts of abdominal shield not form a solid shell and connected by cartilage. Scales and scutes covering shell, have a peculiar structure. The neck is short, thick, wrinkled, his head is short, thick, square, jaws naked and dressed sharp horn covers, which are sometimes notched at the edge, the upper jaw completely covers the bottom and at the end bent into a hook. The eyes are large, prominent, the nostrils are small, cover the head and feet consists of original plates, the tail is short, blunt and dressed scales. Knuckles deprived joint heads.
Green, or soup, turtle (Chelonia mydas) is very large animal, carapace length is equal to 1.1 m, and the weight of 450 kg, is distinguished not forward curved hook-and extended forward, and blunt, sharp, finely cover of the upper jaw, dorsal armor plates lying side by side, and not hide behind each other, and only one pair of plates between the nostrils and frontal shield. Forelimbs are usually only one claw. All other signs are so many modifications that filed a reason to establish a dozen different species. Very unstable color of the top side is often a pale brownish-green with yellow spots or marble patterns, color lower side yellow or off-white.
The green turtle lives in all seas and the torrid zone, apparently, common everywhere. In the Mediterranean Sea, where it is replaced by another sea turtle, she gets a chance, lost. She watched from the Azores to the Cape, along the coast of Africa and all of the islands belonging to this part of the world, on the Atlantic coast of America from 34 degrees north to the mouth Laplaty in the Pacific from Peru to California and the Galapagos Islands, and finally in the Indian Ocean, and related seas and straits of the Mascarene Islands, and the Mozambique Channel to the Red Sea and including all of the East coast of India, the Sunda and Philippine Islands, and finally to the coast of Australia. Individual stray specimens were also caught off the northeast coast of America and the coast of Europe.
Green turtles, like its relatives, these marine animals. They keep mainly near the coast, is not too rare to estuaries and the mouths of large rivers, but often found as far away from the coast, sometimes in the open sea *.
* American herpetologist (reptile expert) A. Carr of labeled green (soup) of turtles found that they can swim about 2600 km in order to lay their eggs on the sandy shore of the island of Ascension. He believes that the turtles are guided in this by the sun and the smell of sea currents.
Here you can see how they swim near the surface, sometimes lying on it, and apparently asleep, but the most insignificant alarms immediately disappear into the depths. “Tortoises – said Laseped – has long been considered the embodiment of the slowness, sea turtles can be called embodied caution.” Indeed, all the stories are in agreement in the sense that these animals while they are awake and not put on their selflessness captured the excitement, anxiously avoid man, but perhaps we can attribute to them a higher capacity than the other members of the same group. They fear not the enemy, which they learned, and extraordinary item. This is expressed, however, some intelligence, but, of course, very small and, in any case, not more than the other turtles. Their mental abilities as well a few, how significant bodily. They say that they can crawl along the ground, carrying on his back as many people as can fit on their dorsal shield, but his true mobility, they are found only in the water. When they swim, their movements resemble flying large birds of prey, such as eagles. They swim beautifully, and their movements are distinguished equally force and speed, constant endurance and beauty, they are equally excellent dive and still keep the water at different depths in the water and take every possible position, then more, then less deviating from the horizontal. Where they wont, you can sometimes see their herds, and in general they seem very sociable. “Since they are – says Laseped – always find enough food to those shores, where they hold, they never quarrel among themselves for food, which are in excess. Moreover, they, like all reptiles, can fast for months , even for a year, so among them reigns eternal peace. They seek each other, but often come together and stay together voluntarily. They’re not going militant crowds to easily master the difficult extraction of crude, but just the same motive leads them to a single same place and the same way of life in order to keep the herd. habits they hold as tightly as their strong shell. To the outside world they are passive, and their passions are never very strong. They are careful, but not brave, rarely actively protected, and always try as much as possible as soon as possible to be safe, in order to achieve this goal, they exert all their strength. ” I believe that this description is acceptable, in other words, that it is in general true. Sociability and peacefulness – outstanding quality of many of the turtles, and especially offshore.
Unlike its sister hawksbill, which is note-predator, the green turtle eats marine plants, especially algae, and where she used to, the presence of her outstanding bitten off of part of these plants, floating on the sea surface. That is what, according to almost all authors, and adds Golbruk, affirming words Audubon, she prefers to all other parts of the sea algae delicate plants vzmornika (Zostera marina), which is even called turtle grass. He remarks that caught turtles fed exclusively vegetable substances, namely, purslane. Knight says that it is very often found in coastal lakes, numerous on the coast of Florida, where it feeds on aquatic grass growing there. After eating their fill, they roll great masses of water grass, which bite off his sharp horn jaws, and glue them clayey silt, in which these plants grow in clumps, often the size of a head When it’s high tide, the water carries these lumps and animals follow them to eat them later. Having found such clumps in coastal lakes, fishermen are well aware that there are turtles, they immediately throw net and catch the animals in large numbers.
At a certain time, the female green turtles leave the sea and swim to a certain, familiar places, to lay there eggs. They choose this sandy shore areas uninhabited islands or places on the coast, away from human traffic, and always seek out the same place, if not for their entire lives, then at least a certain part of it, even if they have to migrate to a distance of hundreds of miles. Males, according to Dampier follow on this journey for their females, but do not go out during the laying of the shore, but remain close to the sea. Before that, they mate, which, Ketsbi lasts more than 14 days. Villmon says that the male during copulation is sitting on the back of the female, as if it goes on top. This observation is apparently true. Both turtles, and especially male, completely forget, they say, the pairing his usual caution. “I caught – says Dampier – male during copulation. They then did neboyazlivy and easy-to-be. Seeing boats female wanted to escape, but the male held her two front flippers. If you want to get the turtles mating, then you only need to kill the female, the male then, on the right, you can catch. ” How long does it take after intercourse to when the first eggs mature, and may be delayed – is unknown. Approaching the shore, waiting for the time turtle laying and then with great care in the evening goes on land. In the afternoon, according to the observations of Prince von Vida, one can see how it floats off the coast, and just hanging out of the water a thick round head, and dorsal carapace reaches a surface. However, she carefully examines the rarely visited coast. Audubon, who was watching her from a hidden place, says that before going out on the land, it becomes more special precautions, it emits a whistling sound, as if to get rid of the hidden enemy. Most insignificant noise makes it instantly dive into the depths of the sea and look for another place. St. Pierre says even that the ship stood at anchor a few hours around the island where the turtles lay their eggs, for days of chasing these cautious animals from the island, and a gun shot so frightened them that they reappear at the coast only by firm . If all is quiet, the tortoise is slowly coming, finally, to the shore, and crawls ashore, his head held high, moves to a distance of 30 or 40 steps from the features of the tide, again looks around and then begins to lay eggs. Prince von View watched it at this time and tells us the following: “Our presence did not prevent her to do their work. Could touch her, even raise (which needed four people), with high-profile sign of our wonder and arguments as to her do, she showed no other signs of anxiety as hiss, which publishes the geese, if they approach the nest. Slowly she continued her flipper-like hind legs once work started, pulling just under anus cylindrical hole about 25 cm width in sandy soil, very cleverly and well, and even to some extent in time threw the body on both sides of excavated soil, and immediately after that began to lay eggs. One of our two soldiers stretched out full length on the ground next to the turtle, deliver stock to our kitchen, reached into the depth of pit and began to throw eggs as the turtle was laying them. Thus, for about 10 minutes, we collected 100 eggs. We began to argue whether it would be appropriate to attach this beautiful animal to our collections, but the heavy turtle for which would have to appoint a special formula, as well as the difficulty of consolidating this awkward burden, forced us to give it life and restrict the tribute that it has paid us eggs. return in a few hours on the beach, we did not find her again. She closed her hole, and wide footprint in the sand showed she crawled back in his element. ”
In his “Materials for the natural history of Brazil,” Prince von View adds to what has been said: “I know from experience that these animals during the Brazilian summer, in December, January and February, in the set closer to the coast, there to bury their eggs. In this respect, all sea turtles are similar to each other, and the story of how they do it, which I was a witness, to all these animals, related to each other in structure and way of life. to lay their eggs in those areas that I traveled , only uninhabited favorable space for up to 18 miles, located between the mouth of the Rio Doce and the St. Matthew, on the area between the newly named and Mucuri river, and a few other places on the coast, not bordered by high steep cliffs on the sea that split wave. During laying traveler often finds on the sand where two parallel grooves are showing the way, who kept turtles coming ashore. these grooves – the traces left by the four flipper-like legs animal, among them visible broad band impressed the lower shell heavy animals . Following this trail 30-40 steps up on a sandy beach, you can find a large, heavy animal, which still lies in the plane, there is little depth kotloobraznoy fossa, which occurred from the circular motion of the body, half-hidden in her body. When all the eggs postponed as described, animal scrape sand from both sides, tightly pressed it and goes as slow as it is, on the same track back in his element. ”
Tennent, by contrast, found that the coast of Ceylon, where this species is particularly visited Rameswaram Island and the neighboring small islands lying between Ceylon and Southern India, have observed a certain trick turtles laying eggs. They are trying to say, to hide its nest, describing a wide arc along the beach and back into the sea in a very different place than out of it. Sinhalese therefore forced to search the entire trail, exploring the ground with a stick, because they can never see at a glance where the nest.
Apparently, the first clutch does not exhaust the supply of fertilized eggs of females, on the contrary, after a certain time, it seems, is again in the same place, again to entrust the same number of mature eggs land that motherly stores them, and all numbers eggs of adult female can therefore be up to 300, maybe 400. Old and new authors, who had the opportunity to observe the green turtles, where they lay eggs, gather here in their homeland, information about them, unanimously claim that these animals appear at breeding sites each year from two to five times, and it is through the gaps in the 14-15 days, and each time put on 75-200 eggs. Some females return to the field of masonry could be established with certainty. On the islands of Tortuga, one of the main breeding grounds for turtles in the West Indies, were, according to Strobel, are caught and tagged various turtles, and then they were taken to Kay West and locked up in the fence. Storm destroyed the fence and freed prisoners. A few days later, they were caught in the same place and under the same circumstances as the first time. On the contrary, Kryummel tells about turtles appearing on Ascension. “Not once have tried in the past 50 years, the names of some, sticking to their dorsal shield copper plate, but it never happened yet again see such an animal.”
Depending on the area while laying different. In the Straits of Malacca have it in the same months, as in Brazil, on the islands of Tortuga and Bermuda for a while from April to June, on the contrary, on the Gold Coast, at Lauer, the time between September and January, stated otherwise I do not think so. The eggs lasts about 6-10 weeks, a little more or less, depending on the temperature of places, such as on the island of Ascension, he learned there Kryummel, 9-10 weeks.
The Cape Verde Islands the young turtles emerge from the eggs, as they say, is on the thirteenth day after laying, it is an indication, perhaps, based on inaccurate observations. They immediately crawl to the sea, but at first did not know how to dive, and many of them fall prey to gulls, herons, birds of prey and predatory fish. Some naturalists believe that their growth is very fast, but this view is not consistent with the observations made on the bog turtle, and, in any case, the story Villmona, though a native of San Domingo had a turtle in captivity and it is one month grew a foot, does not deserve any faith.
During egg laying green turtles, which the rest of the time, no one touches it, at great risk. Large predators and people acquire now defenseless creatures. Wild dogs attack them, but in spite of the devastation produced by them, these dogs can not be considered the most dangerous enemies of the sea turtles. Worse than they are raging man, and though there are no less than white shamelessly than the Redskins. Only in a few places to hunt these valuable animals is reasonable and decent manner. Off the coast of Guiana put shirokoyacheynye networks that are supported in the upper layers of water with floats, from time to time to inspect and remove entangled in the loops of sea turtles. In the Mediterranean, the hunt for a related species, the hawksbill turtle, and is still produced in the same manner as in the past. The boat, which when complete calm slowly glides across the blue water of the sea with the quiet paddle strokes, according to Erhardt, often encounters, a few miles away from the nearest island, sleeping on the surface of a sea turtle, which is similar to a distance canoe capsized. If you can get close to her before she wakes up, the experienced fishermen grasp her leg, a quick movement to easily rotate back and the lead in a helpless state, but now subject to beware the bitten animal, because it is free cuts stick thickness of 2 cm . Often, however, a rumor it is too thin, not to see the danger, and he woke up in time, it is to deceive the enemy eyes slowly, almost without moving, sinking into the blue depths, “where it is within a few minutes is visible to the human eye, in the end, the green fading star. ”
One way of fishing, used by the natives of the Pacific Islands, as discussed already, Lord Anson, however, without meeting full of confidence in recent times following describes missionary White Gill, who got acquainted with him in the Torres Strait. “Seeing a sleeping turtle, the natives quietly rowed to the animal, and one of them, tying a body with a rope, jumping on the back of an unsuspecting victim. Course, along with a turtle catcher immediately rush to the bottom, it does not bother him at all, yet he turns and bends on the back and front legs animal clings to them, until he shall bring together the turtle into the boat. ” The same author tells of a similar way of fishing, which is properly for changes to Penrhyn Island. “If a kingdom is no wind and the surface of the sea like a mirror, the islanders go with the onset of the day in their canoes. Long line stretching them and easy on the eyes to see a turtle on a coral ground. From time to time on the water surface is a cry,” There is swimming turtle . “fast boats in a circle over his victim, and the natives are much banging on the sides of ships to what they believe, to bring down the turtle confused. When they think they have achieved their goal, one of them with a rope under his arms, dives to the bottom to capture the turtle. Others follow him to surround production and help catcher, whose main task is to keep the legs strong and allow the animal to pull both at the surface. Sometimes comrades to help catcher, grasp him by the hair and dragged up. Two or three turtles are considered a good daily production. ”
That the islands in the Torres Strait to catch sea turtles use sticks, fish sticks kind of Echeneis, and give the fish of this species, tied to a rope, stick to the turtles, said Gaddon and Sclater and Ling Roth state the same way of fishing for Zanzibar and Cuba .
Deserted, wild coast of Brazil, which usually go turtle, only rarely visited by travelers, but at the time of egg laying here converge Indians living nearby. “These Indians – says Prince von view – the most violent enemies of turtles, they are daily several animals of this species, which intend to lay eggs, and immediately kill them, since they are so hard to create slow as helpless on the ground, how they cleverly in the water. So sad deserted beaches, covered only by sand, and further into the interior dark virgin forests, washed tempestuous waves of the ocean, are everywhere picture of the destruction and death of all living things, are everywhere in a variety of skulls, shells, complete skeletons of these animals, it was exterminated during their breeding season; skeletons these vultures cleaned from the last remnants of the meat. Indians kill sea turtles for fat is their meat, cook it and collect many eggs are in the sand or in the body of animals, large baskets to eat them at home. At this time, collecting turtle eggs can be often found on this side of the Indian family, loaded the treasures mentioned, they also build their own huts made of palm leaves to settle the coast for a few days or weeks, and every day to work on collecting. ”
Similarly pursue these valuable animals at all the banks that they visit in order to lay eggs. Nevertheless very significant breeding green turtles would cover all losses occurring from catching old females, if satisfied by the female and did not loot place masonry, killing thousands and hundreds of thousands of eggs. Imprudent destruction of eggs threatens this kind of great danger, but does not think about rude selfish hunter. As we approach the time of egg laying animals converge here every mob to gather, perhaps, abundant and valuable booty. Hunters cautious approach in small boats to shore uninhabited islands or land-suited to places clutches on human shores, hiding nearby, and quietly wait for the timid animals crawl on land and far enough away from the water. If hunters rise too early, the turtle immediately rushing to the sea, and if a few sloping beach, they often manage to escape, quickly turning back and sliding down the sand. If hunters are keeping up on time, they provide themselves prey, turning turtle on its back. Not one sea turtle can not escape from this situation, though their fins beats wildly around him and on the shell, and over time to the point izmuchivaetsya that her eyes were bloodshot and strongly protruding from their sockets. Not too rare that catchers in cruelty overturn more turtles than they need, and leave some of them lying in a helpless position and die of starvation. Very large and heavy turtles flip levers, many catch nets, others achieve harpoons. Audubon met a turtle catcher, who in one year to catch at least 800 pieces, almost exclusively by adult females. They hunt at night and always start the next morning to the collection caught turtles, which are transferred, first of all, or in a special room prepared for them, or by the court and then send. In cages, which are, of course, tanks filled with water wraith, you can see how they swim slowly and are often 3-4 on each other. Free fired on land, they crawl and briskly sometimes express their displeasure wheezing. For food caught turtles are rarely accepted, and therefore lose weight quickly and depreciate. Those who are brought to the European markets are for the most part of the West Indies, and it is from Jamaica. They are placed in a convenient location on the tank on the back, attach ropes, stretch them over the sail and often sprinkled with sea water, so they gave up constantly wet or at least damp, stick the poor animal in his mouth a piece of white bread soaked in sea water, and rely in the rest of their extraordinary vitality. In European coastal cities they are kept in large tubs that fill with water after 2-3 days, and then killed by chopping off his head and hung on the 1 or 2 days so that all the blood to flow. Only if the meat is fit for making expensive soups.
Ascension Island, as said Kryummel caught turtles remain in the ponds, arranged on the bank so that they have a message to the sea. At the end of the fishing periods, in May, the ponds are sometimes hundreds of these animals. “Meat turtles – continues Kryummel – appears twice a week on the table of the garrison, and the commandant always sends a gift to each of a warship by a visiting here one or more of these animals. Captain also sent us two pieces of the ship before noon.”
In India, where this species, notes on Boulanger, is quite rare, especially in Ceylon little ceremony with sea turtles, designed for the kitchen. Extremely nasty spectacle, according to Tennent, visitor markets in Ceylon. Caught turtles are horribly tortured. Buyers are likely to want to get as far as possible with fresh meat or sellers do not want to give trouble to kill an animal, so I just separated from a living animal’s chest armor and cut, according to the customer specified a piece of flesh from the body of the victim, using the known survival of turtles, Europeans in terror see here, as the tormented animal turn their eyes slowly open and close the mouth and beating heart, which usually require the last.
At certain times there avoid eating the meat of these turtles by harmful, even toxic effect it. In Panture, south of Colombo, 28 people who ate turtle meat in October 1840, fell ill shortly after eating, and 18 of them died the following night. Remaining alive claimed that the meat was different from harmless, apparently, only that it was very greasy. What is the cause of the harmful effects of meat, is not yet clear.
The second species of this genus – hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata). The magnitude is much lower than the green turtle, but very close to it in structure and appearance and different in every age, more or less hamata front upper jaw, as well as that between the nostrils and frontal shield is always based on two consecutive pairs of pads, and, finally, more or less distinctly imbricate, therefore, partly overlapping each other horny plates dorsal armor, which strongly behind jagged sawtooth and where young noticeable three longitudinal ridge. Forelimbs are always two claws. All dorsal armor plates painted by chestnut or black and brown background with yellow spots, from one location, usually the rear corner panel, apart lighter, transparent, rose-red, red-brown, yellow, like leather, stripes, which can sometimes be so expand, originally a dark color plates takes up less space than light. Breast plate armor-color, yellow, shields head and limbs are dark brown with yellow edges. Carapace length up to 84 cm, the largest dorsal carapace in the Paris museum is only 74 cm, Gunther said carapace length of 60 cm has been considered extremely high.
Apparently, the distribution area of the hawksbill turtle, more or less coincides with the range of green turtle habitat. She also lives in tropical and okolotropicheskih seas of both hemispheres and is particularly common in the Caribbean and around Ceylon, the Maldives and in the Sulu Sea. She caught or observed in many places along the Atlantic coast of America, from the southern United States to Santa Rosa, south of Montevideo, near the Cape of Good Hope, in the Mozambique Channel, the Red Sea, in many places in the East India and the Malay coast, near the Sunda Islands in the Sea of Japan and China, the Australian Sea and off the west coast of Central America.
On the behavior and movements of life, customs and habits of the hawksbill turtle, as we know, in general, similar to the green sea turtle. But this predator in every sense of the word, it is completely neglected plant foods, feeds exclusively on animal substances, as they say, is able to master even large animals. According Ketsbi, American fishermen say that often happens to find it raskushennye large sink. In addition to shellfish, the main part of the food of the animal are likely to fish, skill with which this turtle swims, makes it likely that it can catch and nimble fish.
Reproduction Biss in all respects similar to the breeding of other marine turtles. It also lays eggs in the sand and, moreover, in the same months as the green turtle, and, like the latter, hawksbill always come back to the places where they were born. In 1826, according to Tennent, one hawksbill turtle was found in one of the fins of which was a ring, a ring attached to it at the time of egg laying a Dutch officer for 30 years up to that time in the same place.
This constant, if not stubborn attachment to the place of birth of the animals leads to the sad consequence that Biss apparently reduced in number. People ruthlessly and recklessly pursues them. They eat meat, however, only the natives of those countries that these turtles are visiting, but not Europeans. According to the latter, it causes diarrhea and vomiting, chirya and sores, on the contrary, according to the people of India and America, and it protects against other diseases. Hawksbill not caught for their meat and eggs for the tasteless, according Klyuntsingera, but very tasty, according to others, but for the sake of the horny layer of its shell, the so-called “turtle” that adult turtle can give 2-6 kg. In obtaining this valuable commodity also come with hideous cruelty. Keratin is easily separated from the dorsal armor only when it is very hot. Poor turtle hung over the fire and fry until until they achieve the desired result. Chinese, noting that keratin can easily spoil the action of dry heat, are now for the same purpose with boiling water. At the end of this torturing Biss released and allowed to run to the sea, believing that the stratum corneum is formed again. It is possible that so tormented turtle is alive, but it is hardly necessary after this torture again: reducing ability of the animal is unlikely to reach the point that the shield was covered with new plates, suitable for trade. The possibility of recovery W e can not, however, deny ever since Gad, proved that at least the tortoise can again perform remote shell of bone covering them with horny plates.
Hawksbill keratin not only surpasses all other horny mass beauty and kindness, but, in addition, it is easy pieces welded together. Enough load separate plates that are not the same thickness and fragile, in boiling water and then squeeze them between metal Valcke. With enough pressure, they stick together so tightly that you can not distinguish a separate part, remain quite slowly otverdevaya, any form that will give them a softened state, and therefore perfectly suited for making snuff and combs. Even trimming go to work: they fill the gaps between the individual plates and again until compress at high temperatures until they merge them into a single mass. Is also used in places devoid of stratum corneum dorsal shield: for example, Arab sailors decorate them according Klyuntsingera, their vessels. Finally, from the melted fat tortoiseshell oil plays even in the eyes of some Europeans role miraculous remedy. The best and most expensive “Turtle” comes from Sulawesi, from its export to China. In Europe it is arrange in large numbers especially in Naples.
Hawksbill caught as often as the green turtle, alive in our markets and with proper care is very well survive in captivity. Klyuntsinger, he told me in a letter, has been subject during his stay on the shores of the Red Sea, the young animals of this species in the pool, which had a communication with the sea, where they can eat clams, but found that the animals always died when the water began to well hot spring. This is noteworthy in that regard that, according to the observations of others, and sea turtles require a moderately hot water, and only then, can be cheerful and generally feel good. However, they do not need, of course, in the sea. Fisher had a victorious young sea turtles, even in fresh water, and easily fed them water lice and amphipods. I kept a few copies, and was very fond of them. At first they seemed to me, however, boring. Unaccustomed to the water, they made vain efforts long before they were able to go down into the basin delivered to them, and when, finally, again accustomed to the native element, the whole day lying on the same spot. But that changed when they got stronger. Argue that older animals of these species like to bite, my young pupils, I did not notice it, even when they are again strengthened by abundant food. If they are not put into cold water, ie such a temperature below 12.5 degrees Celsius, they cause little trouble, but rather taken for food, take it from the owner, even out of hand, do not attack in the same swimming pool fish, although fish eat meat rather than any other food, and delight every viewer with their marvelous movement. Comparison with the flying birds of prey, which I have used above occurs to everyone who sees them swim. Slowly, they are constantly moving their fins, and the body of them quietly and evenly glide in any direction through the water layers. None I know of no species of turtles swim the way they do and sea turtles.