Beach goers asked to look out for sick reptiles

South West beach goers are being urged to look out for washed up reptiles along the coastline.

Caring for Reptiles Southwest Inc president Jess Berry said recent wild weather had resulted in baby loggerhead turtles and yellow-bellied sea snakes being washed off course and on to the region’s beaches.

“The massive storms have washed them off the Leeuwin current, they float to the surface and get washed in with the tide,” she said.

“By the time the public find them they have been there for some time, and are dehydrated and unwell.”

Ms Berry said it was important the public didn’t put the turtles back in the ocean.

“They need to travel on the current so they need to get put back on the current near Broome and Exmouth,” she said.

The not-for-profit organisation holds on to the reptiles for no more than a week, and starts their initial treatment.

The animals are then transferred to Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre.

After 12 months of rehabilitation in Bunbury, the veterinary team at Perth Zoo step in to release the creatures back into the wild.

Caring for Reptiles Southwest Inc recently had four turtles in their care, which were discovered at beaches in Gracetown, Prevelly, Augusta and Busselton.

Ms Berry said reptiles were washed ashore every year but the number of rescues had increased.

“We don’t know if more are being washed off course or if there is simply more awareness,” she said.

“Perhaps more are being found because of increased awareness.”

Ms Berry said rescued turtles should be placed on a damp towel in a tub and the organisation, the Dolphin Discovery Centre, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions or a vet should be contacted. 

She advised the public not to pick up the sea snakes, which are highly venomous, and to call the organisation’s hotline instead.

To report an injured or misplaced reptile, call 0437910054. 

For more information on Caring for Reptiles Southwest Inc, visit facebook.com/caringforreptilessouthwest.