Aug. 30 Only in America

Friday, August 30, 2019
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AP PHOTO
This photo provided by Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island shows a two-headed Loggerhead sea turtle. News outlets report Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island says the hatchling was found alive Tuesday and released into the ocean.

S Carolina turtle patrol group  finds two-headed hatchling

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — A group that monitors sea turtles in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, has reported finding a two-headed Loggerhead hatchling. News outlets report Sea Turtle Patrol Hilton Head Island says the hatchling was found alive Tuesday and released into the ocean. The group’s leader, marine biologist Amber Kuehn, says a genetic mutation caused the second head on the turtle, since named Squirt and Crush. The group shared a picture of the turtle on Facebook on Wednesday that showed the creature’s small body partially eclipsed by a gloved hand. The post wished the turtle good luck. Kuehn says Crush and Squirt couldn’t really swim, as the heads controlled separate flippers and weren’t working together.

Pennsylvania man sentenced for trafficking protected turtles

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to six months in prison for trafficking protected turtles. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania says David Sommers on Thursday was also ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution for poaching thousands of protected diamondback terrapins and their eggs from coastal marshes in New Jersey and illegally selling them. In a deal with prosecutors, Sommers pleaded guilty in February to false-labeling of packages containing terrapins. Diamondback terrapins are a semi-aquatic species of turtle native to brackish waters in eastern and southern United States. They aren’t found in Pennsylvania, where Sommers resided, but have a dwindling habitat range in New Jersey. Terrapins are prized in the reptile pet trade for their unique shell markings. The turtles are protected under New Jersey law and by international treaty.

Snake Road closing for Illinois  snake migration

JONESBORO, Ill. (AP) — Snake Road in southern Illinois is closing to cars so snakes can cross without getting run over. The Southern Illinoisan reports that the road winding through the Shawnee National Forest will close to vehicles beginning Sunday. The road, more than 2 miles long, will stay closed until late October. It’s not just snakes. Frogs, turtles, newts and salamanders are also starting to migrate across the road from swamps to limestone bluffs where they’ll spend the winter. Some are endangered, so the Forest Service goes the extra mile to ensure their safety. People can still walk the road while it’s closed to cars but are prohibited from collecting or handling the species. The road will be closed again in March as the animals head back to the swamp.

Island may ban long beach  shovels, large holes in sand

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Leaders of a South Carolina island are one step closer to banning long shovels and large holes in the sand to protect sea turtles and beachgoers. The Island Packet reports Hilton Head Island public planning committee members voted unanimously Thursday for the ordinance. The full council will vote on it Sept. 17. The proposal would ban shovels longer than 14 inches (36 centimeters). It would also ban holes larger than 12 inches (30 centimeters) deep and 12 inches wide. A volunteer group called The Hilton Head Island Turtle Trackers says young turtles can get trapped in large holes after they hatch in dunes and head toward the sea. Beaufort County sheriff’s deputies would be able to ticket anyone who broke the rules. The volunteer group says enforcement could be difficult.

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