By Luke Kenton
This two sleepy green sea turtles jostled for a prime napping spot on the sea bed of a stunning reef, before the victor passed out in TURTLE exhaustion.
On the Hans Reef in the Gili Islands of Indonesia, one tired female green sea turtle was enjoying a quick moment of shut-eye before being rudely awoken by another tired turtle nudging her in the side.
Attempting to retain her place on the plush Xestospongia muta – a giant barrel sea sponge – the furious female turtle stands her ground before relenting at the persistence of her pushy counterpart.
Believed to be able to live for over 80 years, as the first female turtle swims away, the second arrogantly squats on her pink perch, getting ready to enjoy a quick doze.
Acting as somewhat of a turtle spa, the sea sponge poses a number of beneficial features for the endangered species – such as drawing the attention of resident cleaner fish, who help to remove parasite and algae from turtles shells and skin.
Capturing the amusing exchange back in 2012, but only recently discovering it on a previously discarded hard drive, veteran diver Jace Green said: “I was diving in Gili Air and knew green turtles regularly rest on sponge.
“The clean, colourful green shells of the turtles and the pink shade of the sponge set against the blue background of the water makes for some stunning images.
“I had no idea there was already a turtle in the sponge until it popped its head up – I only saw the one approaching.
“Both the turtles were aged somewhere between 20 and 30 years old.
“I’m sure they repeat this routine throughout the day, going up for air then coming down to kick out the occupier of the comfy sponge.
“It was amazing to see these two creatures, whose species, until recently, has thrived for over a 100 million years on Earth.
“To see them in their natural habitat is such a pleasure – especially when I manage to capture unique behavior on camera.
“Green turtles are now listed as endangered.
“Their decline is mostly due to the over exploitation of their eggs – some parts of Asia regard them as a delicacy.
“The plastic bag is the worst offender for turtles.
“They occasionally eat jellyfish and often mistake plastic bags floating in the water for them.
“Many things can be done to protect these beautiful creatures.”