Mongoose and dead turtle

A mongoose about to feast on a dead green turtle on the Big Island.
I pondered about posting this photo. I’d emailed a contact at a marine animal facility with the news that I’d found a dead turtle with a broken shell washed up among some rocks. I asked if anyone would be interested in that information, thinking some marine biologist might want to check the remains to determine the cause of death, that sort of thing.

He asked me to send a photo, which I did. Then I got a response in which he said not to send more. He’d been expecting a ‘happy turtle photo.’ I suspect he’d missed the bit about it being dead with its shell broken in two.

This is a less graphic photo taken a day later, by which time mongooses had discovered the remains. My appearance distracted them, but not enough for them to flee. The mongoose is the poster animal for catastrophic invasive species, but in this case, it’s performing something of a service in cleaning up the remains. Probably other creatures, such as crabs, also gathered for the feast.

I don’t know what happened to the turtle. Possibly it was attacked by a tiger shark or it could have died for some other reason. I doubt the ocean caught it by surprise and swept it to its death. Turtles are very good swimmers.

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