One Singaporean woman’s snorkelling trip has left her with a rather painful ‘souvenir’ – and it’s not an ugly tan we’re talking about.
In an interview with Shin Min Daily, the 59-year-old retiree, surnamed Liang, shared that she was holidaying in Malaysia on Sept 3 with her husband, aunt and granddaughter.
The itinerary included a snorkelling excursion two days later on Sept 5 at Redang Island, off the coast of Terengganu, according to Liang.
Redang is an attractive destination for snorkelling and diving due to its crystal clear waters, especially among Singaporeans.
On that day, there were more than 10 sea turtles swimming in the waters with one of them just around a metre away from her.
“After it swam towards me, I felt a stinging pain on my right arm,” Liang said, recounting that the incident took place at around 3pm.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News
After getting back on the dive boat, Liang shared that she observed that a large patch of skin – about 7cm – on her arm was swollen.
“Several tourists there offered me medicated oil to apply on the wound,” she said, adding that although she did not visit the clinic since there wasn’t any bleeding, the injury was a bummer to her snorkelling excursion.
Liang shared that a staff on Redang Island, who has been working there for decades, told her that they have never heard of turtles biting tourists.
The boat captain had repeatedly reminded the group of 30 tourists there to “see and not touch” the sea turtles, she said, which added to her bafflement on how she was bitten.
“I would still dare to go on snorkelling trips, but not with sea turtles ever again,” Liang added.
Responding to the Chinese daily’s queries, a spokesperson for the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) shared that when provoked, sea turtles retaliate by biting as a form of self defence.
“The amount of people there could also have caused an increase in their stress levels,” the spokesperson said, while urging the public not to overcrowd the turtles’ habitat.
With an average of 2,000 nests every year, the beaches in Terengganu are home to one of the largest sea turtle populations in Malaysia, according to World Wildlife Fund Malaysia.
Liang’s unfortunate encounter with sea turtles at Redang Island, while rare, is not a first.
Guang Liang went snorkelling in Redang and was bitten by a sea turtle. PHOTO: Sina Weibo
A turtle there sunk its jaws on a man’s buttocks, Chinese microblogging website Sina Weibo shared in May 2018.
The unfortunate victim, Malaysian singer Guang Liang, was in Terengganu on holiday with his parents and employees of his company.
This article was first published on AsiaOne and republished on theAsianparent with permission.