Did you know sea turtles are reptiles? If not its time to brush up with these fun facts about sea turtles for kids. These creatures are considered one of the oldest species in the world. The seven different sea turtle species that are found across the world have inhabited our Earth for the last 110 million years. In fact, sea turtles have been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
Sea turtles truly are fascinating marine animals. Unlike other turtles, sea turtles are unable to withdraw their head and legs into their shell, which is known as a carapace. Depending on the species of the sea turtle, the color can be black, yellow or greenish.
Kemp Ridley’s Sea Turtle
Photo Credit: US Fish And Wildlife (CC Licensed)
My Divine Food
Sea turtles eat a large variety of things, depending on which subspecies they belong to. However, some of the foods that they commonly consume include mollusks, algae, sponges, snails, crabs, seaweed, shrimp and jellyfish.
My Water World
Just the females come back to land to lay their eggs. Males and young sea turtles don’t return to land after they hatch and get into the ocean water. Sea turtles inhabit warm waters across the world. However, they migrate long distances to find a suitable nesting place and to feed.
Sea turtles spend majority of their lives in water and hence, researchers do not know a lot about their behavior in the water. Nonetheless, researchers know for sure female sea turtles return to the same nest ground where they were born.
Baby and I
Males and females mate in the water and mating occurs between March and October. The impregnated female comes to the shore to lay her eggs. She uses her back flippers to dig a hole in the sand and lays her eggs in the hole. After covering the eggs with sand, the female once more makes her journey back into the water.
Baby Loggerhead Sea Turtles
Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife (CC Licensed)
After the young turtles emerge from the egg, they can take about a week to dig through the nest and come out. As these hatchlings have many predators, they tend to come out from the nest at night and make their way to the ocean, where they live on their own until they are old enough to mate.
The sex of the sea turtle is dependent on the temperature of the sand covering the eggs. If the temperature is less than 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the hatchlings will be mostly males. On the other hand, if the temperature is more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the emerging young turtles will be primarily females.
While there are seven species of sea turtles, six of them are threatened and endangered. This is primarily because of human activity. Sea turtles are gradually losing their habitat and nesting grounds to development. In many parts of the world, sea turtles are considered a delicacy and hence, hunted for their meat and eggs. Of course, several drown and die after they get entangled in fishing nets. Governments are trying to protect these ancient reptiles and hopefully this will help to protect the different species.
Sea Turtle Swimming
Photo Credit: SteFou (CC Licensed)
Interesting Facts about Sea Turtles
- Sea turtles are known to shed tears. This helps them get rid of excess salt in their body
- The smallest sea turtle in the world is Kemp’s Ridley, which is just .762 m in length.
- The largest sea turtle is the Leatherback. An adult can be more than 1.8 m in length
- Sea turtles can hold their breath underwater for more than 30 minutes
- Leatherbacks are extremely fast swimmers and at swim at speeds of more than 20 miles per hour
- Green sea turtles can stay underwater for five hours without coming up for a breath. When they submerge, their heart rate slows down to one heartbeat every nine minutes
More Interesting Facts About Sea Turtles For Kids