Border patrol agents make unusual rescue

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Customs and Border Protection agents working on South Padre Island National Seashore found an unresponsive Kemp Ridley sea turtle laying on a nest of eggs on Saturday, April 8, 2017. A biologist from the park took the eggs of the critically endangered species for immediate incubation.

Scroll through the gallery to see 12 things to know about the sea turtles as well as pictures of an endangered turtle being released into the wild

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Customs and Border Protection agents working on South Padre Island National Seashore found an unresponsive Kemp Ridley sea turtle laying on a nest of eggs on Saturday, April 8, 2017. A biologist from the park … more

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Ancient

Sea turtles have been swimming in the oceans for 110 million years, virtually unchanged.

Ancient

Sea turtles have been swimming in the oceans for 110 million years, virtually unchanged.

Photo: James Nielsen

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Contemporaries

That makes them as old as the dinosaurs, but still here.

Contemporaries

That makes them as old as the dinosaurs, but still here.

Photo: De Agostini Picture Library, Contributor

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Vitals

The top shell of a turtle is called the carapace and the bottom is called the plastron. A sea turtle cannot retract its head and legs.

Vitals

The top shell of a turtle is called the carapace and the bottom is called the plastron. A sea turtle cannot retract its head and legs.

Photo: Kelly Graml Lomax

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Diet

Leatherbacks and hawksbills help control populations of jellyfish and sponges, while green sea turtles keep the sea grass short.

Diet

Leatherbacks and hawksbills help control populations of jellyfish and sponges, while green sea turtles keep the sea grass short.

Photo: M Swiet Productions, Texas Wildlife

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Rarest

The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is the rarest type of turtle, and it is considered critically endangered. It eats mainly crabs and other mollusks and crustaceans, as well as jellyfish.

Rarest

The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is the rarest type of turtle, and it is considered critically endangered. It eats mainly crabs and other mollusks and crustaceans, as well as jellyfish.

Photo: Rachel Denny Clow, MBO

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Habits

The Kemp’s ridley lives in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. At 30 inches – the length of its carapace – it is the smallest of the sea turtles. It lays its eggs on beaches in South Texas and Tamaulipas, Mexico. These turtles have been found to swim as far as Ireland and England.
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Habits

The Kemp’s ridley lives in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. At 30 inches – the length of its carapace – it is the smallest of the sea turtles. It lays its eggs on beaches in South Texas and … more

Photo: Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle

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Recovery 

Sea turtles recovered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday were given veterinary care Monday at the Houston Zoo. The sea turtles were brought back to Galveston later in the day Monday to NOAA for monitoring.

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Recovery 

Sea turtles recovered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday were given veterinary care Monday at the Houston Zoo. The sea turtles were brought back to Galveston later in the

… more

Photo: Houston Zoo

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Habit

Female turtles lay their eggs in the same place every year.

Habit

Female turtles lay their eggs in the same place every year.

Photo: Lynne Sladky, STF

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Hatching season 

Hatching season varies by species, but generally falls between March and October.

Hatching season 

Hatching season varies by species, but generally falls between March and October.

Photo: HO

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How can humans help?

Many conservation efforts are under way for turtles, but the Sea Turtle Conservancy has some basic advice.

How can humans help?

Many conservation efforts are under way for turtles, but the Sea Turtle Conservancy has some basic advice.

Photo: Pam LeBlanc, Staff Writer

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Clean up

Clean up beaches and knock down sand castles and the like that are in the way of hatchlings making their way to the sea.

Clean up

Clean up beaches and knock down sand castles and the like that are in the way of hatchlings making their way to the sea.

Photo: Photo Courtesy Of Sea Turtle Res

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Recycle

Recycle trash. Some 100 million marine animals are killed every year by plastic discarded by humans.

Recycle

Recycle trash. Some 100 million marine animals are killed every year by plastic discarded by humans.

Photo: Amber Ambrose

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A Kemp’s ridley turtle is released into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston. Houston Zoo, NOAA Fisheries, Moody Gardens released 51 turtles. Forty-nine of the turtles are Kemp’s ridleys and were part of a group brought in last December after suffering from the cold in Cape Cod, New England. The other two turtles, one Kemp’s ridley and one loggerhead were already at NOAA facility for treatment and rehabilitation.

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A Kemp’s ridley turtle is released into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston. Houston Zoo, NOAA Fisheries, Moody Gardens released 51 turtles. Forty-nine of the turtles are Kemp’s … more

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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Andy Krause, of NOAA Sea Turtle Facility, unload turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

Andy Krause, of NOAA Sea Turtle Facility, unload turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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The crowd views a Kemp’s ridley turtle before its release into the Gulf on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

The crowd views a Kemp’s ridley turtle before its release into the Gulf on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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A Kemp’s ridley turtle is demonstrated to a group of children witnessing the release of 51 turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

A Kemp’s ridley turtle is demonstrated to a group of children witnessing the release of 51 turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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William Ennis, 10, and brother David Ennis, 4, view a steady stream of Kemp’s ridley turtles released into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

William Ennis, 10, and brother David Ennis, 4, view a steady stream of Kemp’s ridley turtles released into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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A Kemp’s ridley turtles makes it’s way to the Gulf of Mexico along with the release of 50 other turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

A Kemp’s ridley turtles makes it’s way to the Gulf of Mexico along with the release of 50 other turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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Shanna Butterfras carries daughter Amelia Butterfras while viewing a Kemp’s ridley turtle before its released into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Shanna Butterfras carries daughter Amelia Butterfras while viewing a Kemp’s ridley turtle before its released into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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Lyndsey Howell, NOAA Research Fisheries Biologist, releases a Kemp’s ridley turtle into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Lyndsey Howell, NOAA Research Fisheries Biologist, releases a Kemp’s ridley turtle into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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A tag is clipped to a Kemp’s ridley turtle before it’s release into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

A tag is clipped to a Kemp’s ridley turtle before it’s release into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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Charrish Stevens, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, releases a Kemp’s ridley turtle into the Gulf of Mexico along with 50 other turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

Charrish Stevens, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, releases a Kemp’s ridley turtle into the Gulf of Mexico along with 50 other turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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A loggerhead weighing nearly 100 pounds was released by NOAA Fisheries at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

A loggerhead weighing nearly 100 pounds was released by NOAA Fisheries at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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A loggerhead weighing nearly 100 pounds was released by NOAA Fisheries at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

A loggerhead weighing nearly 100 pounds was released by NOAA Fisheries at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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A Kemp’s ridley turtles makes it’s way to the Gulf of Mexico along with the release of 50 other turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

A Kemp’s ridley turtles makes it’s way to the Gulf of Mexico along with the release of 50 other turtles at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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A Kemp’s ridley turtle is released into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

A Kemp’s ridley turtle is released into the wild at Stewart Beach on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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Dr. Joe Flaningan, Houston Zoo Veterinarian, releases a Kemp’s ridley turtle into the Gulf of Mexico at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

Dr. Joe Flaningan, Houston Zoo Veterinarian, releases a Kemp’s ridley turtle into the Gulf of Mexico at Stewart Beach on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Galveston.

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle

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