Simple acts can save the lives of marine wildlife

More than 200,000 animals are hiding under the sand and in the waves.

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  • | 6:31 p.m. July 10, 2024
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Whenever you go to the beach, do you ever notice the different animals in the water and on land? If not, look around, and you might see a crab digging into the sand or a dolphin jumping into the oncoming waves. 

These animals can make going to the beach much more fun than just lying in the sand and watching the clouds go by. Even though you might only be able to see a select few animals during your time at the ocean, more than 200,000 animals are hiding under the sand and in the waves. 

The beaches that many visit for the perfect tan or the best shells are home to the various animals you can find.

Whether or not you see the animals, everything you do will impact them. Some of the major causes of these ecosystems not thriving are littering, taking home shells and trying to take a closer look at the animals you see. 

When you go to the beach, check around your area for bottles, six-pack can rings, plastic bags and anything else that you know isn’t supposed to be there. All of these things can be consumed or get stuck on the animals. Picking up trash can be the difference between life and death for the critters living in these habitats.

Something as harmless as picking up a shell to bring home can be the start to endangering the animals that inhabit them. Crabs, mollusks, bivalves and snails use the shells as their way of protecting themselves from the many dangers of the beaches. Just because a shell is pretty doesn’t mean it needs to be brought back with you to sit in a jar in your cabinet. 

If you do choose to take a few home, always check for living animals inside your shells before you put them in your beach bag. 

Picking up the animals you see on the beach could be dangerous for you and the animals. If an animal is moving along the sand or swimming through the water, it is best to leave it there. Many animals travel in groups, so picking up one could be the cause of their separation from their family. If you see yellow caution tape warning you to stay away, this is most likely where turtle eggs are found. Most of the eggs aren’t going to make it to the ocean due to birds and other animals attacking them right after they hatch. It is best to give the nest space so the eggs can have the best chance of making it to the ocean. 

These tips aren’t only great for the beaches, but any body of water! These practices can ensure you have the best time at the beach possible and the animals all around you are safe. Each ecosystem is different, but the best advice to remember when going to your destination is to leave it better than you found it! Remember, you are visiting their home, so make sure to give the animals the respect they deserve.


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