Sea Turtles or also known are marine turtles are large reptiles that typically inhabit both tropical and subtropical oceans.
Types and locations
There are seven different species of sea turtles located throughout the world. Those include:
Green Sea Turtle
The green sea turtle often referred to as the green turtle or pacific green turtle, is a turtle species that extends throughout tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world. There are two species of green sea turtle, including the Atlantic sea turtle found in Europe and North America. There is also the Eastern Pacific Sea Turtle which is located in the waters near Alaska and Chile.
The green sea turtle is a large turtle with a wide smooth shell. These turtles can weigh up to 700 pounds and among some of the largest turtles in the world. Their head is proportionally small for their body and is also none retractable. Their bodies measure up to 5 feet long. The male green sea turtle is slightly larger than females and has longer tails. One of the most stand out physical traits of these turtles are the flippers. The flippers of a green sea turtle are similarly shaped to paddles, which generates their power and control swimming.
Green sea turtles, unlike most of the other types of sea turtles, are herbivores. They commonly feed on seagrass as well as algae. However, when the green sea turtle is a juvenile, they will occasionally eat things such as crabs, sponges, and jellyfish.
The green sea turtle typically travels in large groups that originate from the same beach. The turtles spend most of their time swimming and can swim up to 90 km a day.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The loggerhead sea turtle is known for its massive head that features a powerful jaw. The turtles can live anywhere from
An adult loggerhead has a carapace length of 30-44 inches and weights anywhere from (170-350) pounds. Males are smaller than females, but the males do have longer tails. These turtles are known best for their abnormally large heads, which are used to generate power to crush clams and other shelled creatures. These turtles are reddish-brown and have two claws on each of their flippers.
The loggerhead sea turtle is a carnivorous turtle. These turtles will eat mostly bottom-dwelling creatures such as horseshoe crabs, crabs, whelks, and any other mollusks. The loggerhead’s powerful jaw makes crushing the shells of these invertebrates easy.
The loggerhead turtle, although an aquatic turtle, still needs to surface every so often breathe.
Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle
The kemp’s ridley sea turtle is considered both the smallest and most endangered sea turtle in the world. The kemp ridley sea turtle is found in the northern Gulf Of Mexico.
The kemp ridley sea turtle is one of the smallest of all the sea turtle species. At maturity, these turtles are only 28 inches long and weigh only up to 99 pounds. These turtles have an oval carapace that is as wide as it is long and is most often an olive-gray color. Kemp’s ridley have a triangular-shaped featuring a hooked beak.
One of the more interesting aspects of the kemp ridley sea turtle is they change color as they mature. Hatchlings have dark purple on their carapaces, but as the turtles mature, they turn a yellowish-green and finally their common olive-gray.
The kemp’s ridley sea turtle’s diets mainly consist of crustaceans, including jellyfish, algae, seaweed, and fish. Juvenile kemp ridley sea turtles primarily eat crabs. The main foraging area for these turtles is the Gulf of Mexico’s continental shelf.
The Kemp Ridley sea turtle spends most of its life in the ocean, but female turtles will leave the water to lay eggs. One thing that separates this species of turtle from others is the females will routinely leave the water to nest during the day.
Like many other sea turtles, one of the biggest threats to their population is being caught inadvertently by fishing traps. Kemp’s are most commonly caught in shrimp trawls and will be found in long gill nets, pots, or other traps.
Kemp’s nest along the Gulf of Mexico coast and egg collection was seriously damaging the population numbers. Luckily, nesting beaches were given protection by both Mexico and the United States and have come very close to eliminating this threat.
Unfortunately, like many other sea creatures, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are threatened by the vast amount of pollution found in the ocean. Many of these turtles are killed from ingesting things such as plastic pieces, plastic bags, balloons, or fishing line. They can also be caught in various sea debris leading to injury or death.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle
The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle gets its name from the olive green color of its shell. This is more of the most populated sea turtles in the wild. The turtle has a heart-shaped shell and is one of the smallest sea turtles. Adult turtles are only 30 inches in length and weigh 80 to 110 pounds.
The turtle has a heart-shaped shell and is one of the smallest sea turtles. Adult turtles are only 30 inches in length and weigh 80 to 110 pounds.
These turtles have powerful jaws that allow them to have an omnivores diet consisting of mollusks, tunicates, fish, crustaceans, crabs, and shrimp.
The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle is most well known for the way they nest. Their nesting style is called “arribadas.” This means all females return to the same beach from where they were originally hatched to lay their own clutches of eggs. Each one of the beaches these turtles nest on can hold around 1000 female turtles. This, however, creates a problem for the safety of these turtles due to animals who harvest eggs being able to gather so many in such a confined area.
In very unfortunate situations, these turtles can be killed or injured by being hit by boats. The propellers or the force of being hit by the boat are often what cause the injury.
Ocean pollution is the reoccurring theme for the deaths of these turtles. It is very easy for these turtles to ingest plastic materials and mistaking them for food.
The decline of the olive ridley turtle is due to years of egg collection and the death of adult females. These turtles all nest on the same beach, so there is a high concentration of females and eggs. This allows for a mass slaughter of females from those who want the eggs.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
The hawksbill sea turtle is named after its narrow head and pointed beak. They have unique shells that feature a pattern of overlapping scale that give the shell a serrated look. These shells make them highly sought after by poachers who sell them as “tortoiseshells” on the market. The turtles are found through the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans.
The hawksbill turtle is found near reefs and the reason is that their meal of choice is sea sponges. The beak they have enables them to reach into small areas of the coral reef to find food. However, the hawksbill is an omnivorere, so it will eat either plants or animals. Some of their preferred foods are sear urchins, small fish, algae, jellyfish, and crustaceans.
The hawksbill turtle will migrate between nesting beaches and foraging areas. These turtles are known to migrate up to 200 miles. These turtles will spend hours floating on the surface of the water or basking out in the sun. It is not uncommon to see birds perched on the backs on these sea turtles due to how long they will lay motionless. They can also be seen resting on the ledges of rocks or the reefs they inhabit.
The biggest threat the hawksbill sea turtle is poachers coming after their shells. The hawkbill has a beautiful shell with unique patterns. These are highly sought after and are sold commonly as “tortoiseshells.” These shells are used to create jewelry and ornaments most widely in eastern Asia.
The hawksbill turtle like most other ocean turtles, are susceptible to ocean bycatch. This means being caught accidentally in nets, traps, pots, or even fishing line in the ocean. These fishing devices can injure, trap, or even kill the hawksbeak turtle. The more fishing has expanded on the ocean, the more significant a threat this has become to both the hawksbill and other seas turtles.
Flatback Sea Turtle
The flatback sea turtle gets its name from the flat shell it has compared to other sea turtles. The turtle is around 38 inches long and can weigh anywhere from 150 to 200 pounds.
Flatback sea turtles are omnivores, meaning they will forage for both plants and animals. Although they are omnivores, the flatback sea turtles diet primarily consists of a carnivorous diet of food found in shallow waters. This includes sea cucumbers, shrimp, mollusks, coral, jellyfish, and other small invertebrates.
There is little known about the flatback sea turtle’s behavior. Scientists are actively trying to monitor the species but have had little success. One of the few things we do know about the species is that there are four major nesting areas for these turtles located in Australia. We also know that flatback sea turtles prefer shallow waters with soft bottoms that are far away from reefs. The feeding ground of these turtles will also extend all the way to indonesia or new guinea.
One of the biggest threats facing these see turtles is fibropapillomatosis. This disease causes sea turtles to develop benign tumors on the outside of their bodies. This affects the movement and sight of the turles. Unfortunately, this makes it very difficult for these turtles to hunt, migrate, or mate.
Leatherback Sea Turtle
The leatherback turtle is the largest turtle living today. They are the fastest, largest, and deepest diving turtle out of any of the turtle species. An adult leatherback turtle can weigh up to 2000 pounds! They are best known for their smooth soft shells unlike their counterparts who have a traditional hard shell.
The primary diet of a leatherback turtle consists of seaweed and jellyfish. A leatherback sea turtle can eat its own weight in jellyfish every day, which is around 16,000 calories.
The reason for so much overeating is due to their insane migration. The leatherback turtle cannot stop and eat while they migrate, so having an excess of calories prevents the need to stop.
The leatherback sea turtle is famous for its migration habits. They will have one area where they forage for food, and another where they will mate and nest. Typically these areas are extremely far away from each other, often several thousands of miles. This is why the leatherback sea turtle is one of the longest migrating animals not only in the ocean but on earth.
The leatherback turtle can swim upwards of 10,000 miles each year all while they are foraging for food and looking for nesting areas.
One of the biggest threats to the leatherback turtle is other animals eating their eggs. When eggs are laid in nest, they are prone to animals coming along and eating them, such as crabs, birds, foxes, and raccoons.
A big vulnerability the leatherback turtle faces is its soft shell. Most turtles have a hard shell that they can retract into or at least use as body armor against a threat. Although this turtle is one of the largest in the world, it still faces a great deal of threat from predators in the ocean such as sharks or killer whales. This threat is due to leatherback turtles having a soft shell, which gives them little to no defense to an animal bite. The only real defense this turtle has it hopefully being able to outswim or outmaneuver any threat.