Fascinating Facts About Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are incredible creatures found in oceans worldwide, except for the extreme north and south. 

They can live up to 80 years, and there are seven species. Six of these species—green, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and olive ridley—are endangered or threatened. 

The flatback, found only around Australia, is considered vulnerable. Here are some amazing facts about sea turtles:

Hawksbill turtles have beak-like jaws to help them reach food in coral reefs. They love eating sponges.

1. Hawksbill Turtles' Jaws:

Green turtles are the only herbivorous sea turtles, eating seagrass and algae. This diet gives them a greenish color.

2. Green Turtles' Diet:

Leatherbacks eat jellyfish and other soft-bodied animals. They have special spines in their throats to help swallow their slippery prey.

3. Leatherbacks' Soft Diet:

Olive ridley turtles nest in large groups called arribadas, with up to 200,000 turtles nesting together in places like Mexico, Nicaragua, and India.

4. Olive Ridley Nesting Parties:

The temperature of the sand where sea turtles nest determines the sex of the hatchlings. Warmer sand produces more females, while cooler sand produces more males.

5. Nest Temperatures and Sex:

A 1947 home movie revealed where Kemp’s ridley sea turtles nest, showing thousands of turtles on a beach in Mexico.

6. Solving a Nesting Mystery:

To help increase their population, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle eggs were moved from Mexico to Texas, where the hatchlings were released on Padre Island.

7. Kemp’s Ridley in Texas:

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 significantly affected Kemp’s ridley turtles, and scientists are worried about their ongoing recovery.

8. Oil Spill Impact:

To prevent turtles from being accidentally caught in shrimp trawls, Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) were introduced in the 1980s, reducing sea turtle deaths.

9. Turtle Excluder Devices:

Using ultraviolet lights and changing bait in gillnet fisheries can reduce accidental sea turtle captures.

10. Preventing Bycatch:

Leatherback sea turtles can dive up to 3000 feet deep and stay underwater for hours.

11. Deep Dives:

Sea turtles can migrate long distances. One turtle was tracked traveling over 9000 miles from Baja California to Japan.

12. Long-Distance Swimmers:

A trained dog helps locate hidden sea turtle nests on Padre Island, making it easier to protect the eggs.

13. Sniffing Out Nests:

Scientists use manicure supplies to tag and track tiny sea turtle hatchlings, which grow quickly and are hard to follow.

14. Tracking Hatchlings:

After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists carried out a large-scale evacuation of sea turtle eggs to ensure their survival.

15. Massive Egg Evacuation:

Sea turtles are not only fascinating but also vital to the health of our oceans. By understanding and protecting them, we help preserve these amazing animals for future generations.

World Turtle Day 2024: Everything You Need to Know