Barnacles are a type of sea creature that attach themselves to the shells of turtles, whales, and other marine animals. While they may not seem harmful, barnacles can actually cause serious damage to the animals they attach to.
The shells of turtles and other marine animals are covered in a layer of mucus that helps to protect them from parasites and other harmful organisms. When barnacles attach to the shell, they create small holes that allow bacteria and other organisms to enter the body of the turtle or other animal. This can lead to infections and other health problems.
Barnacles can also make it difficult for turtles and other animals to move through the water. The extra weight of the barnacles can slow the animal down and make it easier for predators to catch them.
If you see a turtle or other animal with lots of barnacles on its shell, it is important to remove. This can be done by gently scraping them off with a blunt object.
While a few barnacles one the shell of a turtle won’t generally cause any harm to the turtle, they can occasionally become a problem.
Why Do Barnacles Attach Themselves To Turtles?
Barnacles attach themselves to turtles for two main reasons: food and protection.
Barnacles are filter feeders, which means they feed on small particles that float by in the water. When they attach to a turtle, they are able to filter food from the water that the turtle is swimming in.
Barnacles also attach to turtles for protection. The shell of a turtle provides a hard surface for the barnacles to attach to and protects them from predators.
How Do Barnacles Attach Themselves To The Turtle’s Shell?
Barnacles attach themselves to the turtle’s shell using a strong adhesive that they produce. This adhesive is secreted from a gland in the barnacle’s head and hardens when it comes into contact with water.
Once the barnacle has attached itself to the turtle’s shell, it will not be able to move. The barnacle will spend the rest of its life attached to the turtle, filter feeding and reproduce.
What Eats Barnacles?
Among the most common predators on barnacles are whelks. Whelks are a type of snail that has a spiral shell. They use their sharp, toothed tongue to drill into the shell of the barnacle and eat the barnacle from the inside out.
Other predators that feed on barnacles include crabs, sea urchins, fish, and seabirds.