A loggerhead sea turtle in the Oosterschelde: the first record of a foraging Caretta caretta in the coastal waters of the Netherlands? On September 21 2017, a seriously injured loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) was received by a mussel cutter in the Oosterschelde. Shortly after capture, the animal died of its injuries. There is no known sighting of foraging loggerhead sea turtles in the Netherlands. Only two animals out of ten ever survived a stranding. Both were found in winter and appeared to be cold-stunned animals. Substantial damage made it impossible to determine the sex of the animal. Based on the CCL size, it is estimated that this loggerhead sea turtle was approximately five years old. To see whether it had foraged in Dutch waters, the stomach and intestinal contents of the animal were analysed. During the section, the turtle’s stomach was found to be so damaged that any prey residue from he stomach was lost. The oesophagus and intestine were still intact. In the oesophagus, 18 grams of content was found, being mainly sand and shell grit. The first part of the intestine was empty. In the second intestine we found several prey remains such as shells, feathers and pieces of brittle star arms. Remains of beach crabs (Carcinus maenas) and common swimming crabs (Liocarcinus holsatus) were also found. Both types of crabs are very common in the North Sea and Zeeland Delta. We found no plastic in the gastrointestinal tract. This may suggest that the animal foraged before he died in Dutch waters. Genetic research indicated that this specimen is from the endangered population of the Northeast Atlantic RMU

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M. de Boer, E. Bravo Rebolledo, N. Tuhuteru, A. Kappe, & E. Goverse. (2020). Dikkopschildpad in de Oosterschelde: de eerste beschrijving van een in de Nederlandse wateren foeragerende dikkopschildpad?. RAVON, 22(2), 28–30.
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