The creatures known as cirripedes AKA barnacles are a type of crustacean who love to stick themselves to hard surfaces such as rocks and ships. However, sometimes, these animals take refuge on the shells of sea turtles. A single barnacle may sound harmless to a turtle; however, if too many barnacles attach themselves to a turtle’s shell, it can cause serious problems.
Luckily though, one man in Sri Lanka known as Chika Boy is helping his local sea turtles by removing their barnacles.
In a video he recently posted on YouTube, Chika Boy explains how he helped one such turtle who was quite literally covered in barnacles. Although it’s hard to tell if the turtle is suffering just by looking, the little crustaceans can sometimes lead to infection, they can make eating problematic, and they can even cause the turtle to have a poor vision which in turn can cause the end of these innocent creatures.
“The overloading of barnacles will prevent the turtle from moving and swimming properly,” explains Chika Boy. “Then the turtle will become slower than usual because of increased weight on the turtle’s shell, it will find it difficult to search for food.” He adds, “Also if the barnacles are attached near the turtle’s eyes, its vision will get impacted. Barnacles attached near the mouth of the turtle are also harmful. The turtle will not be able to eat properly due to excessive barnacles.”
Chika uses a sharp knife to cautiously peels off each cirriped. While some are easier to remove than others, sooner or later, he manages to remove every single one. He then takes the turtle back to the beach, and be released and seen happily scampering towards the ocean. In another video, Chika rescues a sea turtle who got himself caught up in a fishing net, gets all the barnacles, too. Thanks to this kind nature lover, these vulnerable sea creatures have someone to look out for them when they get into trouble.
You can check out how Chika Boy removes barnacles from a sea turtle below, and find more of his turtle rescue videos on YouTube.