BABY SEA TURTLES!!! URMAHGURD!!

Researchers tracking young loggerhead sea turtles with shell-mounted satellite transmitters have found the turtles making homes in seaweed mats that provide metabolism-boosting warmth, food and shelter.  Photos courtesy of Jim Abernethy, NMFS permit 1551

Researchers tracking young loggerhead sea turtles with shell-mounted satellite transmitters have found the turtles making homes in seaweed mats that provide metabolism-boosting warmth, food and shelter.
Photos courtesy of Jim Abernethy, NMFS permit 1551

And now for your daily dose of cuteness–I give you baby sea turtles. Loggerheads, to be exact.

After hatching on the Atlantic coast shores of the American south, these little critters drift away and don’t reappear until they are juveniles years later. What the hell are they doing in that intermittent time? Only one way to find out–tag them with radio transmitters.

That’s exactly what University of Wisconsin zoologist Warren Porter helped do with 17 freshly hatched turtles. The team tracked them up to hundreds of days across thousands of miles of Atlantic ocean.

Newly tagged with a satellite transmitter, a baby loggerhead sea turtle swims into the Gulf Stream and a period of its young lifelong known as the "lost years."

Newly tagged with a satellite transmitter, a baby loggerhead sea turtle swims into the Gulf Stream and a period of its young lifelong known as the “lost years.”

And apparently the turtles are straight chillin’ in sea weed.

Okay, so not chillin’, but warmin’. The turtles seek out floating mats of sargassum, a species of seaweed, which provides them with food and warmth. Not that the ocean is too cold for them. More that an extra five degrees of surrounding environment can shoot their metabolism up 50 percent, quickly making them less of an easy target to predators.

So there you have it. Some cool facts about baby loggerhead turtles and some totes adorbs pictures to go with it. What else do you want on a Friday?

The paper, “First satellite tracks of neonate sea turtles redefine the ‘lost years’ oceanic niche,” was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B with the help of Porter and a team of researchers led by Kate Mansfield, professor of biology at the University of Central Florida.

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About bigkingken

A science writer dedicated to proving that the Big Ten - or the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, if you will - is more than athletics.
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