The very first turtles on Earth
lived more than 185 million years ago. About 70 million years
ago, there was a sea turtle
It grew about 12 feet (3.7 meters) long! Unfortunately, this species
died out. But there are still many interesting kinds of
turtles to learn about.
you know how sea turtles communicate? Well, that is a question
scientists are still not sure how to answer. Scientists
believe that sea turtles most likely communicate by using sight and
sound. They make sounds for other turtles to hear, and then
they find each other by listening for the sounds.
Sea turtles are
not considered social animals, however, some species do group
together offshore. Did you know that sea turtles do gather together to
mate? Members of some species travel together to nesting
grounds. After hatchlings reach the water, they usually live alone until they mate.
There are seven
different species of sea turtles, and lots of different kinds of
freshwater and land turtles. The seven kinds of sea turtles are:
the leatherback, green turtle, loggerhead turtle, olive ridley turtle,
Kemp's ridley, hawksbill turtle, and flatbacked turtle. A large, streamlined shell and no retractable head
and limbs characterize sea turtles.
you know that both
males and females are the same length? Well I didn’t. Flatback’s can
reach the length of 81 to 97 cm. (32-38 in.) and 60 to 84 kg. (132-185
lb.). Did you know that the heaviest leatherback on record was 910 kg
(2,019 lb.)? Leatherbacks are the largest turtles.
people don't think turtles have a backbone, but they do. Turtles
are reptiles and are vertebrates (animals with backbones). Their
backbone and their ribs are actually fused to their shell. Turtles also
have bones in their flippers and head.
breathe just like people. They have lungs and can't breathe
underwater. They need to come to the surface to breathe.
Because they are cold blooded, they can go for a long time without
air. Some sea turtles can go without air for hours.
Turtles do not have
any teeth. They have a sharp beak that they use to rip up their
food into smaller pieces. They have good eyesight and a good sense
of taste and smell.
turtles live in almost every ocean in the world. Sea turtles
spend almost their entire lives in the oceans. Normally, male
turtles never come to shore. Females come to shore only to lay their
eggs. Most sea turtles are found in tropical waters because they are
cold blooded. However, some leatherback turtles have been seen
close to Antarctica and as far north as Norway.
sea turtles like to live alone, but sometimes form feeding groups in shallow waters
that have a lot of seagrass and algae.
In the ocean, flatback turtles may spend hours at the surface
floating, apparently asleep or basking in the sun. Frequently,
seabirds perch on their flat backs.
sea turtle species has its own diet. Did you know that loggerheads’ and
ridleys’ jaws are used for crushing and grinding?
Their diet consists primarily of crabs, mollusks, shrimps, jellyfish and
vegetation. Did you also know that researchers are still trying to find
the diet of flatbacks? The evidence is that they eat seaweeds, cuttlefish, and sea cucumbers.|
Adult leatherback turtles only eat jelly fish and hawksbill
turtles only eat sponges.
Did you know that
when a female is giving birth to little hatchlings she covers up her
nest with her body to protect her hatchlings from predators? They
also use the sand to fill in any open holes. This way the
hatchlings can stay moist and won't dry out. It also helps with the
Most females are between 20 to 50
years old when they start laying eggs. Depending on the species a female
can lay 50 –
200 ping-pong shaped eggs. On average, they lay about 100 eggs at a
time. Out of the 100 eggs, there will probably be only one
survivor. This is because of pollution, predators and
humans. Female turtles lay eggs about seven times in their first
year and then do it again two or three years later. They do this
about five or six times during their lifetime.
When turtles nest, they are able
to stay out of the water for a few hours. If they get too hot and
can't get back into the water, they can die.
Other Interesting Facts |
- Turtles are the only reptiles with shells.
Turtles are cold-blooded. That means their
body temperature stays the same as the air around them.
The green turtle can swim at a speed of 20 miles
(32 kilometers) per hour. But it tires out quickly.
Leatherback turtles live to be 30 to 50 years old.
Other sea turtles may live a little longer.
Ernst, Carl H. "Turtle." World Book
Online Reference Center. 2006. <http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar571480
Fact Monster/ Information Please R Database.
Copyright 2005 Pearson
Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
"Questions and Answers." National
Marine Aquarium. 15 April 2006 <http://www.national-aquarium.co.uk/databases/FAQsLibrary/index.asp?
Reina, Richard. "Questions and Answers." Scholastic.
15 April 2006 <http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/explorer/oceanlife/main.asp?template=
Copyrighted animation of turtle from "Animation Factory" <http://www.animationfactory.com/>
April, 2006. Animations are not in the public domain and are available
only to members.
Permission to use photographs of turtles and
jelly fish is granted under the terms of the GNU
Free Documentation License from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page>.