10 Astonishing Sea Turtle Facts You Likely Didn't Know
Sea turtles, ranging from the majestic green sea turtles to the ancient leatherbacks, are truly some of the ocean's most fascinating and vital inhabitants. These graceful mariners play a crucial role in maintaining the health of both marine and coastal ecosystems.
Regrettably, their future hangs in the balance, as sea turtles face the threat of extinction due to various environmental challenges. However, there is a beacon of hope. Through collective efforts in combating climate change, reducing pollution, preventing bycatch, and safeguarding sea turtle habitats, we can turn the tide for these endangered species.
At Fahlo, we believe that education and awareness are key to conservation. As the only legitimate partner of the Sea Turtle Conservancy, we’ve proven our dedication to saving this ancient and majestic species. By sharing intriguing insights and facts about sea turtles, we aim to spark the same sense of wonder and a drive for preservation that we have, in everyone. Join us as we dive into 10 facts about sea turtles, exploring their unique traits and the significant roles they play in our global ecosystem.
1. ARE SEA TURTLES REPTILES OR AMPHIBIANS?
Are turtles reptiles? Are they amphibians? If you are going to cover sea turtles facts, you need to clear up one of the basics many people get wrong. Many people think turtles are amphibians because they can live both at sea and on land. It is an understandable mistake to group them in with other animals that live both on land and at sea. However, the truth is that sea turtles are reptiles. Just like other reptiles, they lay eggs and they breathe air.
2. CAN SEA TURTLES HIDE IN THEIR SHELLS?
Whether in person or in a nature video, we have all seen a turtle retract its head and limbs into its shell. This is a great protective feature and something we often group in with other sea turtle facts, but it is one thing that sea turtles can not do. Unlike their land-dwelling cousins, sea turtles do not pull their flippers or head back into the shell. The shell can still serve a protective function, but sea turtles are unable to hide in their shells the way other turtles can.
3. LEATHERBACKS WERE AROUND WHEN DINOSAURS ROAMED THE EARTH
One of the undeniable facts about sea turtles? They’ve been around for a long time. One species in particular, the leatherback sea turtle, has been around in its current form since the age of the dinosaurs. Leatherbacks are also the largest species of sea turtle, and they do not have the hard shell of other species. Instead of the hard bony shell of other turtles, leatherbacks have a tough, almost rubbery shell - that’s where they get their name.
4. SAND TEMPERATURES DETERMINE GENDER
Female sea turtles lay their eggs on land. In fact, one of the most interesting facts about sea turtles is that they can lay over one hundred eggs at a time. And, the temperature in the nest can determine the gender of the hatchlings. Higher temperatures produce female hatchlings and cooler temperatures produce male hatchlings.
5. HOW DEEP CAN SEA TURTLES DIVE?
While sea turtles do need to breathe air, they can stay submerged for an incredible amount of time. Many sea turtles can hold their breath for more than five hours. This gives them the ability to dive deep under the ocean. Most sea turtles have the ability to dive almost 1,000 feet. And leatherbacks can even dive beyond 3,000 feet. The deepest recorded sea turtle dive was a leatherback at close to 4,000 feet beneath the surface.
6. THEY HAVE A VARIED DIET
Depending on the species, sea turtles might eat jellyfish, barnacles, squid, sponges or seaweed, among other things. Here’s a fun fact about sea turtles and their diets: Eating mostly seagrasses and algae, green sea turtles are herbivores, and their diet is what gives them their greenish color.
7. SEA TURTLES GET AROUND
Sea turtles are migratory animals. They spend much of their lives at sea, and they travel great distances. Thanks to tracking, we know this fact about sea turtles: Some of them travel thousands of miles in their lifetimes. Looking at leatherbacks, some will travel more than 10,000 miles in a single year.
8. HOW MANY EGGS DO SEA TURTLES LAY?
Did you know that sea turtles exhibit a fascinating nesting behavior? They lay their eggs in a nest they carefully dig in the sand using their rear flippers. Each nest, or 'clutch', typically contains 100-125 eggs. Remarkably, sea turtles will nest multiple times over several months, spacing each nesting about two weeks apart. One of the more intriguing sea turtle facts is the hatchlings' journey – after roughly two months, they emerge from their nest and make a perilous dash to the ocean.
9. HAWKSBILL TURTLES’ SPECIALIZED BEAK
Hawksbill turtles have a specialized beak that's perfectly adapted to their diet. They primarily feed on sponges found in coral reefs, and their beak's unique shape and sharpness allow them to reach into the tiniest of crevices in the coral to extract their prey.
10. DAYTIME NESTING OF KEMP’S RIDLEY TURTLES
Unlike most other sea turtle species that nest at night, Kemp’s Ridleys have a unique daytime nesting habit. This distinct behavior sets them apart when exploring interesting facts about sea turtles.
Those are just 10 facts about sea turtles. As you can see, these animals are fascinating and deeply complex. If you’re interested in making an impact and helping with sea turtle conservation, you can directly donate to the Sea Turtle Conservancy and track a real turtle with our Journey Bracelets. For even more resources, check out the STC website to learn more about the work they do.