starfish island | best practices when touching a starfish


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something i have been working towards is becoming a more responsible traveler. i have made my mistakes and know i will make more along the way, but i am going to continue to educate myself to the best of my ability before i enter a new country. it’s important to know that my actions and footprint will not harm or destroy my surroundings. we live in such a beautiful world and should always work towards keeping it that way.


i recently visited the most magical island called, starfish island, and encountered the most beautiful, spikey and magestic starfish. the local tour guide that was spearheading our island hopping extravaganza lead us to the starfish, where he proceeded to pick two up and hand them off to me.

i used to think, “if the tour guide says it’s OK, surely it’s ethical and Ok.” unfortunately this is not always the case. many tour guides work to appeal to tourists, and if you’re like me, all things animals appeal to me! however, that doesn’t mean it’s ethical and good for the animals. with that being said, before going on a safari tour, hanging out with elephants, or any adventure with animals, do a quick google search of the facility to make sure the animals are being well taken care and able to live a happy, natural life.

now, back to starfish. i came up with very little research aside from some lady saying the starfish will die within 10 seconds of taking them out of the water…. when someone questioned her where she got her info, she mentioned she could not remember, but heard it about a decade ago. so i didn’t trust the hoopla and referred to three marine biologists instead. they were extremely helpful and all had very similar advice. so below you find the best practices when encountering and handling starfish.

  1. do not pick up starfish in the wild if you are not with a guide. they are beautiful creatures, but not all are harmless.

2. make sure your hands are generally clean of sunblock, lotions, oils, etc. you don’t want to transfer this to the starfish

3. wet your hands before handling the starfish. if you’re in salt water, fully submerge your hands into the salt water.

4. hold the starfish gently.

5. be respectful, don’t hold the starfish for long periods of time.

6. return the starfish where you found it.

*please note i am not a marine biologist nor claim to be a starfish expert. if you have additional, researched tips leave them in the comments below! 🙂

xoxo | jasmine



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