Why Are These Sea Turtles Wearing Swimsuits?

It's not just because it’s adorable

How do you collect faeces from animals that live in the water?

Researchers at the University of Queensland has come up with a clever solution – swimsuits!

The team from UQ’s School of Biological Science is analysing the diet of endangered sea turtles to locate their foraging areas and better protect the species.

Image: Kathy Townsend/UQ

They captured six loggerhead sea turtles and kept them in seawater tanks at UQ’s Moreton Bay Research Station until they defecated.

But collecting the poo of an extremely strong, 120kg sea turtle is no easy task.

Using “rashies” from a charity shop, the researchers sewed customised swimsuits for the endangered turtles.

Image: Kathy Townsend/UQ

“After a few modifications, including Velcro-attachments for the ‘nappy’, we hoped we had the perfect solution to our unusual problem,” said the station’s education coordinator Dr Kathy Townsend.

“To our great surprise, it worked perfectly. The suits were easy to put on, comfortable for the sea turtles to wear, looked great, and Owen was able to collect the entire faecal sample.”

Once the team collected their samples, the turtles were returned to the ocean.

Image: Kathy Townsend/UQ

Discuss this article


Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services, personalise your advertising and remember your preferences. If you continue browsing, or click on the accept button on this banner, we understand that you accept the use of cookies on our website. For more information visit our Cookies Policy AcceptClose cookie policy overlay