Marine turtles are the species that live in oceans. In fact, they are reptiles or ‘Testudines’. Their evolutionary lineage dates back for well over 100 million years.
Six out of the seven marine turtle species belong to the hard-shelled super-family called ‘Chelonioidea’. Hence, the odd one out from the group is the Dermochelyidae leatherback turtle.
Most of the sea turtle species are now ranked as being ‘critically’ endangered. But, you can still see marine turtles swimming around shallow coral reefs in all ocean environments outside the Polar Regions.
There are several major factors affecting the long term outlook and ultimate survival of almost all the species. They include:
- Ocean pollution
- Accidental bycatch
- Non-accidental poaching
- Climate changes
- Beach nesting site erosion
Female Turtle Nesting Facts
Male and female turtles spend the vast majority of their lives below the sea. But, females will head to the beach during the nesting season.
Incredibly, the female turtle returns to the exact same beach where she hatched from the egg. This occurs even after twenty or thirty years away from the sand site.
The female turtle digs a hole in the sand and buries between 50 and 200 eggs inside the sand nest. She then covers the eggs in sand and leaves them to hatch. Air temperature determines the sex gender of the hatchling.
Facts about Baby Turtles
All juveniles will be born females when the egg temperature is high. Thus, more males are born when the temperature of the egg is lower.
One of the most interesting facts about baby turtles is that marine turtle babies hatch at night time. They then head for the safety of the sea.
Note: It is the moonlight which guides baby marine turtles on the correct path to the relative safety of the ocean.
Interesting Facts about Sea Turtles
- The average lifespan of sea turtles is around 70 years in the wild.
- An adult leatherback turtle can often weigh a colossal 500 kilos.
- Sea turtles do not have any teeth. But, they feed on seagrass, jellyfish, crabs, clams, and sea cucumbers.
- As most scuba divers will know, they spend most of the time underwater. Even so, they actually breathe atmospheric air through their lungs.
- Resting or sleeping sea turtles can stay underwater without returning for air for up to seven hours.
- Many of them will die from eating plastic bags in the ocean. This is because the plastic resembles a jellyfish to a sea turtle.
- They are superb swimmers and often travel for 1,000’s of miles across the oceans.
- These animals survived weather changes on earth 100’s millions of years ago which killed the dinosaurs.
- A turtle’s upper shell is better known as a carapace. But, they cannot hide their head and legs inside it like land turtles can.
- Turtles have a very efficient sense of smell and excellent eyesight.
Marine Turtles Pictures
The underwater photos show the hawksbill Turtle and the leatherback turtle.
Note: The section on ocean fish and corals has more information on sea life and animals found in our marine environments.