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Tropical turtle found far from home in the cold waters near Iona

Picture by Jane Kindlen and Chris Sharples
Picture by Jane Kindlen and Chris Sharples

A tiny loggerhead turtle has been rescued after being discovered on the Isle of Iona, far from its normal tropical habitat.

After an Iona resident discovered the small reptile, it was race against time to get it the proper care to ensure it survived.

The Good Samaritan took the turtle on a ferry to Mull, where it was handed over to Mull Aquarium, where the marine mammal medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue were on hand.

The turtle, measuring just over nine inches, spent the night on Mull before being taken to the mainland via Oban where it was passed to Loch Lomond Sea Life, who will now rehabilitate it.

The turtle will be cared for at Loch Lomond Sea Life centre before going back to the tropics. Picture by Jane Kindlen and Chris Sharples.

Turtles are cold-blooded creatures however they thrive in warmer waters which Scotland is not known for.

Colder waters around Scotland are dangerous for small, weak reptiles as they can become hypothermic, malnourished and dehydrated.

Tropical turtles such as this one usually wash up on the shores of the UK after being pushed off course via the Gulf Stream due to the powerful currents.

They then struggle to navigate their way home due to the cold water affecting their health – which is why so many sadly wash up dead on the UK shores.

Those that do survive long enough to be found and reported are taken into care, and if they survive will eventually be transported to a warmer climate, like the Canary Islands.

In a post to social media, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue wrote: “Massive thank you to all parties involved, everyone really came together to help this turtle and give it the best chance of survival, we couldn’t be more grateful.”

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