A day trip to a Welsh beach turned out to be a pleasing surprise for one family who discovered the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. While strolling along Talacre beach in Clwyd, Ash and Samantha James spotted the turtle on the sand.
Usually found in the Gulf of Mexico, the family approached the turtle thinking it was dead.
Elated to find the species, the couple and their nine-year-old son Gethin nicknamed it Raphael.
The family then reported their find to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity.
Ms James, who lives in nearby Holywell, said: “Ash thought it was dead as it was motionless.
“It was astonishing to find such an amazing creature on our local beach.”
The turtle was found to be alive after the family informed the marine experts.
According to the specialists, it was in a state of cold-water shock and has been transferred to Anglesey Sea Zoo.
It will spend the next few months recovering there before being returned to the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts believe that it was pushed way off course by Atlantic storms, which affected the jetstream.
Ms James said: “We all have our fingers crossed that he survives.”
Their powerful jaws help them to crush and grind crabs, clams, mussels, and shrimp but they also like to eat fish, sea urchins, squid and jellyfish.
They build nests every one to three years in which they lay an average of 110 eggs which incubate for about 55 days.
Adults are mostly limited to the Gulf of Mexico but juveniles can be found up and down the east coast of the United States.
In the US they are listed as endangered and in danger of extinction within the near future with only an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 remaining in the wild.
Their greatest threat is from humans who collect their eggs and kill adults and juveniles for meat and other products.