Sea Turtle


Sea Turtle


Female turtles typically return to the same beach where they were hatched to lay eggs.


All sea turtle species are listed as endangered except the loggerhead, which is listed as threatened.

Population: The worldwide population for each species is unknown.


Human activity has greatly reduced the sea turtle population through capture, harvesting of eggs, alteration and destruction of nesting beaches, ocean pollution, and fishing and shrimp nets.


Most sea turtles live approximately 15 to 20 years and may reach as much as 80 years!

There are eight different species of sea turtle:

  • Green: (Chelonia mydas)
    The green sea turtle usually lives among sea grass and measures 36 to 43 inches and weighs 200 to 300 pounds.

  • Hawksbill: (Eretmochelys imbricata)
    The Hawksbill turtle is the source of the term "tortoise shell" because of the pattern of markings on its shell. The Hawksbill measures 30 to 36 inches and weighs 100 to 200 pounds.

  • Kemp's Ridley: (Lepidochelys kempii)
    The smallest and the most endangered of all the sea turtles, the Kemp's Ridley has an oval-shaped shell that is olive-grey in color. On average, it reaches a length no more than 30 inches and weighs 80 to 100 pounds.

  • Olive Ridley: (Lepidochelys olivacea)
    This turtle gets its name from its olive-colored shell. The Olive Ridley has a wide, heart-shaped shell and a greenish-white underside. It is 24 to 30 inches in length and weighs 90 to 100 pounds.

  • Leatherback: (Dermochelys coriacea)
    This turtle is the largest living sea turtle. The leatherback has large limbs and no claws. It has no shell, but instead has a leathery back with raised gray stripes. It can reach a length of 6 feet and weighs up to 1,400 pounds.

  • Loggerhead Turtle: (Caretta caretta)
    A large turtle with reddish-brown markings, the loggerhead can reach 33 to 40 inches in length and weighs 150 to 400 pounds.

  • East Pacific Green: (Chelonia agassizi)

  • Australian Flatback: (Natator depressus)

Sea turtles can be found in most marine habitats.   They migrate hundreds of miles between nesting and feeding grounds.

The main diet of sea turtles includes jellyfish, seaweed, crabs, shrimp, snails, algae, and mollusks.

National Parks: Sea turtles are found in Canaveral National Seashore, FL; Dry Tortugas National Park, FL; Cumberland Island National Seashore, GA; Gulf Islands National Seashore; and Padre Island National Seashore, TX.


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