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Found a REAL Sea Turtle in a Dumpster? Answered

I was at the beach a few days ago for a school field trip/ biology class.
I'm always searching for material for projects, so I figured that while I was waiting for others, I would take a look, as something that looked like a motor caught my eye.
It was just a rusty motor, but on the way back, while walking near a dumpster, I spotted something HUGE inside. 

I didn't know if it was real, but:
  • There was no smell - no flies and bugs too. It's either a fake turtle, or has died recently. 
  • The shell was peeling. The shell of a tortoise is in one piece, but the shell of a turtle is different?
  • The head looks like it has been connected to the shell. I don't think that means it's a real one.
  • The rear left leg looks just so real.

If it's actually real, I would think that someone spotted it, dead, on the beach, and called the people that deal with that stuff. I think that it's pretty unlikely that the turtle fell in, as it would have probably landed upsidedown, and because it's pretty far from the swash (?) zone, even though I know that can travel way more than that, probably even uphill.

Pictures below.
What do you think?



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3 years ago


I do, and don't want to know.

This thing could be pretty popular of a website like Reddit, I think.


3 years ago

I can't tell definitively if it is real from the photos, but I can say;

> Tortoise/turtle shells do peel, even when they're alive. [LINK]

> Going by the garbage around it, it's not huge, so (if real) probably young.

> Looking at your third photo, it is potentially possible that it walked into the dumpster when aiming for the sea in the dark.

> In some species of sea turtle, the neck & shell do sort of merge into each other (streamlining?)

My instinct would be to pull it out of the trash and look properly - is it meaty? Are there wounds? Or obvious signs of manufacture? If it's only been there a few hours, it could even still be alive!


Reply 3 years ago


I'd guess its size was a little over a meter by less than a meter. Best guess.

Hmmm... Why would it wander so far from the shore? The climb up to where I was standing when I took a picture of it was at a pretty steep slope. I tortoise could climb that, but I'm not sure about a sea turtle.

Pulling it out of the trash:

I'm not in the area anymore.

Not interested in jumping into a huge dumpster.

Not interesting in touching a dead (perhaps) animal.

Can't lift 100+ kilograms (probably weigh more than that ᵖᵘᶰ ᶰᵒᵗ ᶦᶰᵗᵉᶰᵈᵉᵈ)

I'll leave that to the professionals!

After all of this - I'd have to say this is a real turtle. The only reason for it to be fake is if it was from a visitor center, and they threw it away. I didn't see anything like that nearby.

Picture 1: Brown = steep slope to climb, green = dumpster.

Picture 2: Google earth. Yellow = turtle's path/ Green/D = dumpster.

Extra note: when I was on a trip in Costa Rica, we saw a female turtle lay her eggs in the sand (in an organized group, doing our best not to disturb them...). Might have been a Leatherback turtle, I'm not sure. Those turtles weighed hundreds of kilograms, and laid their eggs in soft sand, not like what I was standing on.


Inkedturtle_LI.jpgInkedScreenshot (34)_LI.jpg

3 years ago

Definately looks like a dead one.
If it is a soft shell one than it is possible someone or something crushed the poor thing while it was shedding the skin.
Could also be that it got stuck in something and drowned to be washed up on the beach, or even natural death...