A plastic straw may seem like a fairly innocuous object, but not when its stuck up a sea turtle's nose. Marine biologists have released upsetting footage of a sea turtle having a straw plucked from its nose after it got lodged there (this is very distressing so no cocaine abuse references please).
They've done so to highlight the damage that everyday human plastic trash can do to marine life and "why especially drinking straws are one of the most useless items made out of plastic, especially if they end up as plastic trash in our oceans."
The team of researches found the male Olive Ridley turtle in waters off Costa Rica with the 12cm straw rammed in its nostril. First they thought it was a parasitic worm, but after they eventually removed it they realised what it was. The footage shows them pulling it out with a plier from their Swiss Army knife and you can see the poor turtle wince in pain and bleed throughout the ordeal.
"The turtle very likely ate the straw and regurgitated the straw where it ended up in the wrong passageway." says one of the researchers Christine Figgener. "The nasal cavity of sea turtles is connected directly to the palate (roof of the mouth) by a long nasopharyngeal duct. We disinfected the air passageway with iodine and kept the turtle for observation before releasing him back into the wild. The bleeding stopped pretty much immediately after the removal of the straw."
It might all seem like it's adding more pain to a very distressed sea reptile, but if the straw was left in any longer it would have killed the poor turtle. So in this instance it's a case of being cruel to be kind.