Sea turtles are a group of marine reptiles that are characterized by their large size, webbed flippers, and hard shells.
They can grow to be quite large, with some species reaching up to 4 feet (1.2 m) in length and weighing over 1,000 pounds (454 kg).
Sea turtles are found in oceans all over the world. They spend most of their life in the ocean, but they come to land to lay their eggs. Some species prefer tropical and subtropical waters, while others are found in colder waters.
They can be found in different habitats including sandy beaches, seagrass beds, coral reefs, and open oceans.
Sea turtles are opportunistic feeders and their diet varies depending on the species and their life stage. Juvenile turtles tend to eat more plant material while adults tend to be more carnivorous, feeding on animals such as jellyfish, crustaceans, mollusks, and fish. Some species are herbivorous and feed on sea grasses and algae.
Sea turtles are solitary creatures and spend most of their time in the ocean. They migrate long distances between feeding and breeding areas.
They are strong swimmers and can dive to depths of up to 1,000 feet (300 m). They come ashore primarily to lay eggs, which they do at night. They are most active at night, but they can be active during the day as well.
Sea turtles belong to the order Testudines and the family Cheloniidae (green and hawksbill turtles) and Dermochelyidae (leatherback turtles) and are divided into 7 different species, each with distinct characteristics and ranges. They are :
- Green Sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
- Hawksbill Sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
- Kemps Ridley Sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
- Loggerhead Sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
- Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)
- Flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus)
- Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
All sea turtle species are considered to be endangered and protected by various laws and international agreements. Threats to sea turtles include habitat destruction, pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, poaching, and collection of eggs. The destruction of nesting and feeding habitats, pollution and climate change, accidental capture in fishing gear and poaching, as well as the trade in sea turtle products, all continue to threaten the survival of sea turtle populations.