3 Interesting Facts About Sea Turtles
One of the most intriguing animals in the sea is the sea turtle. Also known as marine turtles, they are graceful to watch and fascinate people of all ages.
Unfortunately, marine pollution is a major threat to these creatures as they have been known to become stuck in the plastic rings of six packs of soda. This can lead to starvation and even death if they aren’t rescued. Because of the danger humanity has caused sea turtles most of the species are protected so that they can reproduce and rebuild the turtle population.
We can help save sea turtles not just by conservation methods, but also learning more about them. Think you already know everything? The following are three of the most interesting facts about these amazing creatures.
1. There are Seven Different Species
There isn’t just one type of turtle. Sea turtles are all different from one another, and very different than freshwater turtles.
All turtles have shells. Most of a sea turtle’s body is protected by its shell, which is split into the plastron (ventral part) and the carapace (dorsal part). The hard shell is made up of scutes, which are the small plates you see on its surface. Unlike freshwater turtles, sea turtles are not able to protect their legs, flippers and head by retracting them into their hard shell.
The exception is the leatherback sea turtle which has a large leathery shell with bony plates for protection underneath. Sea turtles have a more streamlined shaped to their shells which enables them to swim faster than their freshwater counterparts.
There are seven different species in total that all have different traits.
- Green sea turtle
- Olive ridley
- Kemp’s ridley
Adult members of all the different species can range between two feet to almost ten feet in length. They’re found in almost across every ocean on the planet.
2. They Like to Travel
Sea turtles live in most every ocean around the world. Their nests are located on tropical and subtropical beaches. They are known for migrating across immense distances, even across an entire ocean just to feed. They are found everywhere from the cold waters of the Antarctic Ocean to the warmth of the Caribbean, which is one of the best locations to check them out.
Loggerhead turtles have been known to nest on the Japanese islands, and migrate across the Pacific Ocean to California and Mexico. They feed before returning across the Pacific again to nest. Leatherback turtles are known for being able to handle the coldest temperatures (sometimes well below 40 degrees) due to their large size. Because of this they can be found as far north as the waters off Alaska, and as far south as the coast of Chile in the Pacific Ocean.
Sea turtles are known for spending the entirety of their lives in the ocean. An exception is when adult females go ashore to lay eggs in nests. This happens repeatedly per season when females are fertile, which is every two to five years.
After about two months, baby sea turtles, also known as hatchlings, will emerge from their eggs which were lain in nests on sandy beaches, and then return to the sea. Juvenile turtles will spend the first few years in open water before eventually moving to protected estuaries, bays and other waters nearer to the shore as adults.
3. They Lay A Lot Of Eggs
During the span of one nesting season a female sea turtle will lay somewhere between two to six clutches of eggs. Each clutch will contain as few as 65 and as many as 180 eggs. These clutches get laid every few weeks. However the nesting season for females may be as often as every year and as infrequently as every nine years.
The sex of a turtle depends on the temperature with warmer nests producing more female hatchlings while cooler nest will produce more males. Research has show how sea turtles are affected by changes to the climate, namely how there are fewer males to reproduce with the more the temperatures rise. Researchers have also been intensely studying ways to lower the vulnerability sea turtles have because of the environment.
Sea Turtles are amazing to watch come ashore, lay eggs before returning to the sea. Many beachfront residents regularly watch the turtles returning to shore every chance they get.
You can even watch turtles lay their eggs at regular viewing events in the Southern coast of Australia, both coasts of Florida and in Caribbean islands like the Bahamas.