7 Turtle Facts that Makes Them so Unique

Whether you are talking about anything from green sea turtles to leatherbacks, you see interesting creatures that really are a treasure to the planet. Sea turtles play an important role in sea and land ecosystems around the world.

Unfortunately, sea turtles are at risk of going extinct. While there are many reasons why sea turtles are under threat, there is a lot we can do to save sea turtles. If we all do our parts to fight climate change, prevent pollution and protect sea turtle habitats, they can be saved. 

One way to get people interested in sea turtle conservation is to teach them about how wonderful these animals are. In this post, we are going to cover a few sea turtle facts that can get almost anyone interested in saving sea turtles.

Turtles are Reptiles

Are turtles reptiles? Are they amphibians? If you are going to cover sea turtles facts, you need to clear up one of the basics many people get wrong. Many people think turtles are amphibians because they can live both at sea and on land. It is an understandable mistake to group them in with other animals that live both on land and at sea. However, the truth is that they are reptiles. Just like other reptiles, they lay eggs and they breathe air.

Sea Turtles Do Not Pull Back Into Their Shells

Whether in person or in a nature video, we have all seen a turtle retract its head and limbs into its shell. This is a great protective feature, but it is one thing that sea turtles can not do. Unlike their land-dwelling cousins, sea turtles do not pull their flippers or head back into the shell. The shell can still serve a protective function, but sea turtles are unable to hide in their shells the way other turtles can.

Leatherbacks Were Around When Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth

Sea turtles have been around for a long time. One species in particular, the leatherback sea turtle, has been around in its current form since the age of the dinosaurs. Leatherbacks are also the largest species of sea turtle, and they do not have the hard shell of other species. Instead of the hard boney shell of other turtles, leatherbacks have a tough, almost rubbery shell. That is where they get their name.

Sand Temperatures Determine Sex

Female sea turtles lay their eggs on land. They can lay over one hundred eggs at a time, but many of the hatchlings never make it to sea. One interesting sea turtle fact is that the temperature in the nest can determine the sex of the hatchlings. Higher temperatures produce female hatchlings and cooler temperatures produce male hatchlings. 

Sea Turtles Can Dive Deep

While sea turtles do need to breathe air, they can stay submerged for an incredible amount of time. Many sea turtles can hold their breath for more than five hours. This gives them the ability to dive deep under the ocean. Most sea turtles have the ability to dive to close to 1,000 feet. If you look at leatherbacks, you see a species that can dive to beyond 3,000 feet. The deepest recorded sea turtle dive was a leatherback at close to 4,000 feet beneath the surface.

They Have a Varied Diet

Sea turtles have a varied diet. Depending on the species, they might eat jellyfish, barnacles, squid, sponges or seaweed, among other things. Eating mostly seagrasses and algae, green sea turtles are herbivores, and their diet is what gives them their greenish color.

They Get Around

Sea turtles are migratory animals. They spend much of their lives at sea, and they travel great distances. Thanks to sea turtle tracking, we know that some sea turtles travel thousands of miles in their lifetimes. Looking at leatherbacks, some will travel more than 10,000 miles in a single year.

Those are just a few sea turtle fun facts. As you can see, these animals are really interesting and they deserve all of the effort that goes into their conservation. That is one of the reasons why we have partnered with the Sea Turtle Conservancy. If you are interested in sea turtle conservation, check out our Journey Bracelets or go to the STC website to learn more about the work they do.