Turtle found that pooped plastic for a month
Leatherback turtles are specialist feeders, their diet consists of jellyfish. Jellyfish are energy-poor food therefore leatherbacks must eat a lot of them. Plastic bags that are discarded into the ocean look remarkably like jellyfish to a marine turtle, meaning they are ingested.
Ingestion of plastic not only means the turtle receives no energy but it means blockages.
A turtle was rescued in 2009 after marine biologists in Melbourne Beach, Fla., noticed that it seemed to be having problems digesting food. After dislodging a large piece of plastic from the animal’s gastrointestinal tract, the turtle proceeded to defecate 74 foreign objects over the next month. Some of those objects included four types of latex balloons, five different types of string, nine different types of soft plastic, four different types of hard plastic, a piece of carpet-like material, and two large tar balls.
Though this turtle was rescued, it is representative of a growing problem for sea turtles around the world, creatures that easily mistake plastics for food items like jellyfish. According to the report, about half of all surveyed sea turtles have ingested plastic.