Sea Turtles

Green Sea Turtle
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Sea turtles are group of reptiles that can be found in all oceans of the world except in the polar area. 6 out of the 7 known species of sea turtles, 6 are critically endangered caused by poaching, habitat destruction, hunting, over-harvesting, accidental catch (called bycatch), ocean pollution and weather changes (although they managed to survive weather changes which killed the dinosaurs).

Unlike land Turtles, Sea Turtles can’t hide their heads and legs inside the shell. That makes them more vulnerable when they come in contact with predators.  For the few that make it to adulthood, Sea Turtles have few predators which include large Sharks (Tiger Sharks in particular) Killer Whales, and of course the worst – Humans. 

Hatchlings and young juvenile sea turtles have many natural threats both on land and at sea. Common predators include fire ants, crabs, lizards, birds, dogs, raccoons, wild pigs, coyotes, dolphins, sharks and many species of carnivorous fish such as snapper, grouper and barracuda.  It’s estimated that only 1 in 100,000 hatchlings survive until reproductive adulthood.

During nesting season the female will return back to the same beach where she was born. She will find the right beach even after 30 years of absence.  Sea Turtles lays eggs in the holes in the sand. These “nests” can’t be recognized easily because turtle covers them with additional layer of sand. Depending on the species, each nest contains between 60-200 eggs.

The sex of Sea Turtles, like many other turtles, is determined by the temperature in the nest. Cooler incubation temperatures produce male hatchlings and warmer incubation temperatures produce female hatchlings. Temperatures that fluctuate between the two extremes will produce a mix of male and female hatchlings.

Young turtles hatch during night and they use moonlight to find their way to the sea. Too many lights that are coming from the beach or from a nearby road can disorient and confuse young turtles.

Sea turtles don’t have teeth, but their mouths are adapted to each type of food that they normally eat. Green Sea Turtle is vegetarian who eats sea grass, while other Sea Turtles eat crabs, clams, jellyfish, sponges, and sea cucumbers.  Sea Turtles will eat plastic bags because it looks like a jellyfish, and this could kill the Sea Turtle.

Sea Turtles have lungs and breathe air just like us. They spend most of their time under water, hours at a time and even sleeping, but they do need to return to the surface for air.  Sea turtles can hear vibration. They have excellent eyesight and sense of smell.

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