Sea turtle, Superfamily Chelonioidea, is also known as the marine turtle is a reptile of the suborder Cryptodira and the order Testudines. There are 7 species of sea turtles including leatherback sea turtle, flatback sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, olive ridley sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, and the green sea turtle.
The Endangered Species Act lists the 6 sea turtle species, which are present in the United States waters, as threatened or/and endangered. These include leatherback, olive ridley, Kemp’s ridley, hawksbill, green sea turtle, and loggerhead. The Flatback, the last sea turtle species, exists in the waters of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. The categories of sea turtles are dermochelyid (leathery-shelled) and cheloniid (hard-shelled). The leatherback sea turtle is the only dermochelyid species.
Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas
Common Name: In general, it is called the Green sea turtle – but it is also called the black sea turtle in some areas.
Size: Adults are 83 to 114 cm (3-4 feet) in carapace length.
The largest sea turtle is the green turtle. However, the largest green sea turtle ever found was 395 kg (871 pounds) in weight, and 152 cm (five feet) long.
Weight: Between 110 to 190 kg (240-420 pounds).
Population: Between 85 thousand to 90 thousand nesting females.
There are incredible long migrations that sea turtles make between breeding and feeding areas. The leatherback, for example, goes approximately 3,700 miles each way. Females leatherback digs a hole onto the shore after they are got mated at sea, to lay their eggs. Then they settle their eggs (up to one hundred), cover them back up, then get back to the sea.
The eggs hatch after about 2 months, at night, the young turtles move from the beach into the sea. That journey would be full of dangers as these tiny babies can be hunted by crabs, seabirds, and other predators. Also, sea turtles could be confused and heading the wrong way because of the homes, hotels, and other buildings’ lights. However, the hatchings can be guided to the sea by natural light on the horizon.
Diet: Depends on its age.
When a green turtle is less than 20.5-25.5 cm (8-10”) in length, it eats algae, grasses, aquatic insects, young crustaceans, and worms. However, when they are between 20.5-25.5 cm, they eat algae and seagrass at most. Anyway, having serrated jaws allows them to tear vegetation, which makes them the only sea turtle to eat grass when they are adults.
Habitat: Sea turtles live in protected shores and bays, where seagrass is always available. But they can be found in the open ocean, but it is so rare.
Nesting: Every two years, they nest. But every season, they nest 3-5 times. However, around 115 eggs are laid in every nest, the eggs need around 2 months to incubate.
There are many practices that make 6 of the 7 these species are assorted as critically endangered, endangered, or threatened such as climate change, pollution, bycatch in fishing nets, and humans hunting.
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