What is a Sea Turtle?

sea turtle | endangered turtles

The Sea turtle is a giant reptile of the suborder Cryptodira; these are sometimes called marine turtles. Sea turtles come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. The upper part of a sea turtle’s shell is known as the carapace, and the lower part of the shell is called the plastron. Sea turtles do not have teeth, the ears of a sea turtle are not visible, but they have eardrums covered under their skin, turtles can hear in low frequencies. Sea turtles do have an excellent sense of smell. The sleek bodies and large flippers of turtles make them survive in the sea-life.

Sea Turtle Habitat:

Sea turtles are adapted to live in marine life; they could be found in every ocean of the world. These air-breathing reptiles inhabitant in the tropical and sub-tropical seas.

Sea Turtles Species (Sea Turtle Information):

Seven species of a sea turtle reside in the earth’s ocean. 

Leatherbacks

The scientific name of the leatherback is Dermochelys coriaceaThe shell of a leatherback is composed of a thin layer, tough and rubbery skin. It is the only species of a sea turtle that deficient hard shell. The carapace of a leatherback turtle consists of dark grey or black color with a white or pale spot, while the plastron may be whitish or black with five ridges marks. The largest leatherback ever recorded was 10 feet, the average size of a leatherback is 4 to 6 feet. Leatherbacks weigh up to 660-1,100 pounds. Leatherbacks survive only by feeding themselves with jellyfish, which is considered as inadequate in nutrients. These species are primarily found in the open oceans of northern Alaska. The leatherback sea turtle is the only sea turtle to remain at low temperatures. The biggest threat to a leatherback turtle is the pollution from the marine. The average population recorded for this specie is 34,000-36,000. Leatherbacks are listed as vulnerable sea turtles.

Australian Flatback-

The scientific name of the Australian Flatback is natator depressus. The carapace of a flat back is without ridges and have large scales. The body of an Australian Flatback is flat, they are found with an olive-gray color with flips colored in creamy white. The size of a flat back is 3.25 feet, and they weigh an average of 198 pounds. Sea cucumbers, jellyfish, prawns, mollusks and other sea vertebrates are the food of a flat back. Australian flatback prefers to habitat in grassy shallows, coastal coral reefs, and bays. These species are endangered to ocean pollution, destruction of nesting beaches, and entrap in a fishing net. The estimated population of a flat back is about 20,000-21,000.

Hawksbill

The scientific name of hawksbill is Eretmochelys imbricata. Hawksbill is the smallest sea turtle; there carapace is elliptical, which is orange or brown-yellow. The length of a hawksbill is 2.5 to 3 feet; they can weigh between 101-154 pounds. The main diet of hawksbill includes sponges, shrimps, and anemones. Hawksbill is typically found in the rocky areas, lagoons, and coral reefs. These species are threatened for their shell which is used to make decorative items, ornaments. The population of hawksbill counted 20,000-23,000. Hawksbill is listed as a critically endangered species.

Olive Ridley-

The scientific name of this species is Lepidochelys olivaceaThe carapace of an olive ridley sea turtle is bony and has a large scale present on them. The average length of an olive ridley measures 2-2.5 feet, and they weigh between 70-100 pounds. These species have an omnivorous diet due to their strong jaws and can eat fish, crabs, shrimps, and tunicates. Olive ridley habitats for offshore in surface water and can dive to the depth of 500 m. these species can be found in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. Incidental capturing in net fisheries is the main threat to these species. The estimated population is 800,000.

Kemp’s Ridley-

The scientific name of kemp ridley is Lepidochelys kempiiAn adult has a green-grey carapace with a white or yellow plastron. The average size measured is 2 feet, and the measured weight is 72-108 pounds. These species like to eat fish, squid, and jellyfish. They prefer to live in sandy and muddy bottoms. The use of activities by humans, such as collecting the eggs of kemp ridley and killing them for their meat, is the most significant threat, this results in the declining population of these species.

Loggerhead-

The scientific name of the loggerhead is Caretta carettaThe shape of the carapace is heart-shaped with a reddish-brown color, and the plastron carries the yellowish-brown color. Loggerheads mostly feed on shellfish that live in the bottom of the ocean. Being carnivorous, they eat, horseshoe crabs, mussels, and clams. The jaw muscles of loggerheads are strong enough to crush the shellfish. Loggerheads prefer to live in Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. Human disturbance in the coastal is the greatest threat to loggerheads. The population amidst 40,000-50,000.

Green Sea Turtle-

The scientific name for green sea turtle is chelonian mydasThese can be easily notable as they have a single pair of prefrontal scales. The average size of an adult green is 3 to 4 feet, and the average weight of an adult is 240-420 pounds. During their life, the diet of green sea turtle changes; when they are less than 8-10 inches, they feed on worms, aquatic insects, and algae. When they reach 8-10 inches, they eat seagrass and algae as they the only sea turtle that are completely herbivorous. Green sea turtle stays near the coastlines in protected shores. The biggest threat to this species is that its part is used to make leather. The population counted is 85,000-90,000.