Happy World Sea Turtle Day

Port Aransas is rich with wildlife, from dolphins to unique migrating birds. Perhaps one of the most exciting sights for a visitor, though, is a glimpse of a sea turtle bobbing along near the jetty rocks! Port Aransas is lucky enough to be home to several of the world’s seven total sea turtle species, and even has an entire facility dedicated to sea turtles and other marine animals.

The Amos Rehabilitation Keep, also known as the ARK, is a wildlife rehabilitation center that takes in marine birds, raptors, and sea turtles. The center is a University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) program that sees around 1,5000 patients a year and handles more stranded sea turtles than any other facility in the United States!

Why is this important for summer travelers in Port Aransas? Sea turtle nesting season runs April through mid-July, and visitors can be a huge help in identifying nesting sea turtles on the beach so the ARK can be present to assist in any way necessary. If you see a nesting or injured turtle, the number to call is 1-866-TURTLE5. That number works on the whole Texas coast and will connect you with local rescue services, like the ARK, who can help. Additionally, if you see turtles stuck in the jetties, it’s important to call. Even if the turtle can be easily freed, experts at the ARK may be able to detect injuries that aren’t immediately visible and provide appropriate care.


Get to know more about these fantastic turtles below!

Kemp's Ridley

Kemp’s ridleys are the most endangered species, and common in Port A, making ARK an important player in preservation. They are the smallest and lightest of all sea turtles. Being light allows them to nest quickly, keeping them safe. This is important as they are the only species that nest in the…


Loggerhead sea turtles are the third largest sea turtle species and have a larger head to body ratio than most. That head (and the connecting jaws) allows Loggerheads to have a different diet than most sea turtles that includes hard-shelled prey. The ARK has a resident Loggerhead sea turtle named…


Green sea turtles are herbivores and are named after the color of their fat. They are commonly found in Port Aransas area due to the abundance of algae on the jetty rocks and the beautiful sea grass meadows in the bays. Green sea turtles can grow up to 500 pounds!


Leatherbacks are the largest species and can dive down to 4,000 feet! They are relatively rare in this area and generally found in deeper water. However, ARK recently released: “In the last two weeks, we have seen three Leatherback Sea Turtles...inform us of any nearshore Leatherback sightings.”


Not commonly found in this area, Hawksbill sea turtles can reside worldwide and are frequently found near coral reefs. Hawksbills have a curved beak that enables them to reach for food, which consists mostly of sponges, algae, and invertebrates.

Keep an eye out on the ARK’s Facebook page to see when the next sea turtle release is happening!

Information courtesy of the ARK.