1. They feed on green sea turtles!
Green sea turtles are the only sea turtles that are predominantly herbivores, feeding mostly on seagrasses and algae. This diet is responsible for the greenish color of their cartilage and fat (not their shells), which is how they got their name.
2. Sea turtles dig a nest in the sand with their back flippers to lay their eggs. A clutch is a collection of eggs.
They normally lay 100-125 eggs per nest and will nest numerous times over the course of several months, about two weeks apart. The hatchlings dig out of their nest as soon as the eggs hatch (about 2 months later). This procedure usually takes a few days to complete.
The little turtles dash to the sea and make their way offshore into the wide ocean as soon as they emerge. Sea turtles are threatened by a variety of factors, but those that survive to adulthood are decades old.
3. The temperature of the sand is critical.
The temperature in the nest determines the sex of sea turtles, as it does many other turtles. Male hatchlings are produced by cooler incubation temperatures, while female hatchlings are produced by warmer incubation temperatures. Temperatures that swing between the two extremes result in a mixture of male and female hatchlings.
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Learn about studies on disturbing trends as global temperatures rise and fewer male turtles hatch from nesting beaches in the video below.
4. Hawksbill turtles use their beaks to assist in the extraction of their preferred prey.
Hawksbill turtles are most commonly found in coral reefs, which are home to their favorite food: sponges. Their beak’s shape and sharpness allow them to reach into small holes and crevices on coral reefs in search of food.
5. One type of sea turtle lays its eggs during the day.
Most sea turtles lay their eggs at night; Kemp’s ridleys are the only ones who lay their eggs during the day.
6. Leatherback sea turtles have been around since the time of the dinosaurs in their current form!
Leatherback turtles are migratory, swimming over 10,000 kilometers between nesting and foraging locations each year. They are also skilled divers, with the deepest dive ever recorded reaching over 4,000 feet, which is deeper than other marine mammals. They have prickly “papillae” surrounding their mouth and esophagus, which assist them to catch and eating jellyfish, which is their major meal.
7. Loggerhead turtles spend the first 7 to 15 years of their existence (on average 12 years) in the open ocean.
They then relocate to near-shore coastal habitats, where they will continue to develop and grow. Researchers have revealed that loggerhead turtles in the Pacific have a highly migratory life stage thanks to satellite surveillance.
Hatchlings from Japan and Australia’s nesting beaches make their way into the ocean. Some individuals migrate across the Pacific Ocean to feeding sites off the coasts of Baja California, Mexico, Peru, and Chile as part of their growth process. That’s almost 8,000 kilometers!
8. Sea turtles do not retract into their shells when they are threatened.
Sea turtles, unlike other turtles, do not have the ability to withdraw their flippers and head within their shells. They are exceptionally agile and graceful swimmers due to their streamlined shells and huge paddle-shaped flippers. Their back flippers are utilized as rudders to steer in the water.
9. Some turtles lay their eggs in big bunches called “arribadas,” which means “arrival” in Spanish. Only the Kemp’s ridley and the olive ridley turtles exhibit this arribada nesting activity.
During an “arribada,” large groups of females congregate offshore and flock to the beach to lay their eggs in large numbers, usually for several hours. Offshore breezes, lunar cycles, and the release of hormones by females are all explanations for what causes an arribada. Multiple turtles congregate on the beach at the same time, laying and hatching many nests. Predators are less likely to kill eggs and hatchlings as a result of this.
10. Deep divers and sea turtles can stay underwater for long periods of time.
Sea turtles are reptiles that breathe air, although they can stay submerged for hours at a time in natural settings. They even snooze while submerged. The majority of sea turtles spend their whole lives at sea, only returning to lay eggs on nesting beaches. Green turtles, on the other hand, frequently come ashore in the Pacific Islands to sun themselves.