JENKS — The Oklahoma Aquarium has chosen five finalists for its sea turtle naming contest.
The aquarium’s loggerhead sea turtle is turning 25 years old in November, and the public was asked to give him a special gift — a name.
During the month of September, the aquarium received more than 1,300 name submissions from people of all ages.
The five final names are Splash, Sammy, Bubbles, Seamore and Crabby.
Beginning Friday, aquarium guests can vote for their favorite name at a special voting booth.
Voters will receive an “I Voted” sea turtle sticker as a thank you for helping choose his name, which will be revealed at his birthday party on Saturday, Nov. 9.
The aquarium actually has two male sea turtles that are brothers, but only one is on display at a time because males are territorial and “try to dominate each other” when together, said Andrea Leitch, the aquarium’s chief marketing officer.
The loggerhead sea turtle is the most abundant of all marine turtles in U.S. coastal waters, according to nationalgeographic.com.
But it is listed as a threatened species — one likely to become endangered, in danger of extinction, within the foreseeable future — under the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy.
The greatest threat is loss of nesting habitat due to coastal development, predation of nests and human disturbances, such as coastal lighting and housing developments that cause disorientation during the emergence of hatchlings, the conservancy said.
Other major threats include incidental capture in longline fishing, shrimp trawling and pollution.
Loggerheads weigh between 155 and 375 pounds and can live 50 years or more.
They are primarily carnivorous and feed mostly on shellfish that live on the bottom of the ocean, including horseshoe crabs, clams, mussels and other invertebrates.
Admission to the aquarium is $17.95 for adults and $13.95 for children ages 3-12, military members and seniors 62 and older.
For questions about the contest or birthday party, contact Leitch at email@example.com or 918-261-6285.
Visit OKAquarium.org to learn more.