Facts of Sea Turtle
Air-breathing reptiles, sea turtles are well-adapted to their marine environment. Their size varies greatly, depending upon species from the small Kemp’s ridley, which weighs between 80-100 pounds, to the enormous leatherback, that normally weighs more than 1,000 pounds and the largest recorded about 916 Kgs.
They are ancient navigator, can recognize their own nesting beach even after many years. Female turtle return in maturity to the same beach for egg laying where it has been hatched long time before. Scientist believes that turtle use earth magnetic force to navigate perfectly. They transport massive nutrients and increase productivity of coastal underwater vegetation during their travel. They are extreme traveler and move as far as 12000 kms to reach their nesting rookery. They can recognize color as is absence in many higher animal group. sea turtle have color vision, but they probably do not see well while on the land. Loggerhead and green turtle can see all colors from red to blue.
Long Living Creature
sea turtles are Long-lived and mature between 15-50 years. They are highly migratory and travel great distances during lifetime from ocean to ocean around the globe for nesting foraging and mating. Scientists are still researching sea turtle longevity. Once sea turtles reach sexual maturity, they may have an estimated reproductive life of about 30 years, given that some species reach maturity at 50 years.
Different species of sea turtles like to eat different ocean creatures. They have mouths and jaws that are specially formed to help them eat their desired item. And each species eats, sleeps, mates and swims in distinctly different areas. Feeds variety of items like jellyfish, crab, shrimps, shells, sponge, sea grass etc. Sometimes their habitats overlap between species but for the most part they each have different preferences. Like human sea turtle have their favorite foods. Hawksbill mainly eats sponges in the coral habitat, while loggerhead prefers clams, crabs & sea urchins. Leatherback likes jellyfish, whereas flatback turtle eat squid, sea cucumber and mollusk. The olive ridley turtle is the least fussy and consume almost all type of food. Green turtles have dual choice carnivores in juvenile state and prefer grass at the adult stage.
Life & Reproduction
Although living in the sea they must have to breath in air and lay eggs on tropical sandy beach for reproduction. They spend their entire lives at sea, except when females come ashore to lay eggs on the tropical sandy beaches well above the high tide line in several times per season every 2-5 years. sea turtle return in maturity to the same beach where hatched. Eggs are laid in 50-100 cm deep egg chamber and those hatched by sand heat provided by natural sunshine that takes 50-65 days incubation in general.
Life in the Ocean
Although very slow on the land sea turtle can swim fast in the water and take advantage of ocean currents to assist their migration movement. Unlike their land-based cousins fresh water turtles they have stream lined body, shells and paddle like flipper modified from front & rear legs that can propel them at speeds and they are strong swimmer as green turtle can move over 50 kms per hour. Sea turtle mother has no duty on eggs once laid on the beach and the babies find their way in the night time guided by the distant brightest horizon in the sea. Like other reptiles sexes of sea turtle depends on incubation temperature. They spend their first few years in the open oceans, eventually moving to protected bays, estuaries and other nearshore waters. Male sea turtles never leave the ocean accept basking in remote and pristine beaches where there are no human. During nesting female search safe sandy nesting beach and if undisturbed, leave the water and crawl up the beach to a point well above the high tide line and start remarkable nesting process.