As I’ve mentioned before, we get a lot of interesting things in the mail at our office. We just received this specimen bag from our colleagues at Atlantic Veterinary College. It is from the necropsy (autopsy) of one of the entangled leatherbacks from earlier this month. The specimen is a brown plastic lid that is about 6 cm (2.5 inches) in diameter.
This lid was in the turtle’s stomach. The turtle had also eaten a small plastic bag, which we found nestled inside this cap during the necropsy.
A sea turtle can’t digest a plastic lid or a plastic bag. Plastics sit–until the turtle’s death–in its digestive tract.
Neither the plastic bag nor the lid was the cause of death for this particular leatherback, but it was sobering to find them.