Plants use the energy from the sun to convert nutrients from the soil into their “food.” Many animals benefit from this as they use these plants as a source of their nutrition. The animals that feast on vegetation become prey to other animals that use them as their source of food, and so on it goes. This is called the food chain.
Omnivores and the Turtle Food Chain
Most turtles are omnivores and they are not as high up on the food chain. An omnivore eats not only plants, but the occasional meat product as well. Though you may think of a bear to be high up on the food chain, in reality he is an omnivore feasting on such delights as insects, elk, sheep, deer, sedges, grass and honey. Monkeys too are omnivores dining on lizards and frogs, insects, leaves, flowers and fruits. Turtles will eat snails, crickets, crayfish, and earthworms along with algae, vegetation and lettuce. Each animal has its place in the food chain and when you remove one from the equation you will see the “ripple in the pond” affect.
The Complexity of the Turtle Food Chain
It may seem like a simple concept when trying to understand how an ecosystem works, but in reality it is a complex and fragile web. There are many animals that eat grass and take into consideration how many different types of food each of the animals eat. They are all dependent upon each other in order for the food chain to be successful. A successful food chain is one that transfers energy efficiently. An efficient and successful transfer rate stands at about 80%. This means that within the food chain, eighty percent of energy is transferred from one species to the next. A low energy transfer is one that stands at 20% or below. This means that 80% of energy is being wasted.
The Mighty Oak
For many animals, the oak tree can be considered the “staff of life.” This places them high on the food chain. Acorns feed many along the food chain sustenance in the winter season when many other types of food are scarce. Turtles as omnivores are neither at the very bottom or top, but somewhere in the middle. This does not make the turtle food chain any less important than the oak tree. Without the sun, this incredibly complex food chain and food web could not function. Once there is no photosynthesis, there is no plant matter; therefore the oak tree would die.
As being high up on the food chain, removing this element would trickle down the turtle food chain and eliminate many other species that the turtle depends upon for their survival. Each element in the food chain is as important as the one before and the one that follows. Nature is wise in her creation and only man has the power to truly effect lasting changes on the food chain that is detrimental to the whole. We as citizens of the global community need to look for ways which allows us to live in harmony with the necessary ecosystems that make up our world.