Have you ever given much thought to sea turtles and what they do in the wild? Or, did your child ever ask you why sea turtles are green? What’s beneath that hard shell of theirs, which turtle is the largest, or the fastest in the ocean?
If any of these questions have ever fluttered through your or your kid’s mind, then this blog post is for you. It’s time for you to be amazed by these 11 amazing sea turtle facts for kids. (And yes, I know it’s not just 10.)
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Sea Turtles for Kids
Sea turtles are a very interesting group of animals. From endangered turtles to amazing biology, sea turtles have captured the hearts and minds of scientists and laypeople alike. As we learn more about these marvelous creatures, our appreciation for them grows broader.
This article aims to bring you eleven amazing facts about sea turtles that will cause your heart to go out to these animals that find their way into our imaginations.
1. Sea Turtles Are the Most Endangered Species on Earth
The first thing you should know about sea turtles is that they are the most endangered species on earth. They face many threats including habitat loss, overfishing, pollution, climate change, and unauthorized killing.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that there are only about 1 million left in the wild today. Because of human activity, sea turtles are facing extinction. We must protect these amazing creatures so that they can continue to survive for centuries to come. There has been a 50% decline in sea turtle populations since 1970!
2. Only 1 in 1000 hatchlings survive to Adulthood
When a baby sea turtle hatches, they are known as a Hatchling. Turtle hatchlings are adorable, but only around one in a thousand might reach adulthood. They have numerous natural predators such as birds, crabs, fish, and animals like raccoons, making hatchlings very vulnerable to being eaten before they grow.
3. The Gender of Young Turtles is determined by Temperature
The gender of a hatchling is determined by the temperature of the nest. Hotter conditions create more females, whereas colder temperatures produce more males. This is why climate change might have a significant impact on their numbers by producing too many females and too few men to match them for reproduction.
4. Sea Turtles Can Live to Be More Than 100 Years Old
Sea turtles live much longer than people do. Many sea turtles can live to be over 100 years old. However, this depends on the species. The loggerhead sea turtle can live to be over 110 years old. The green sea turtle can live to about 80 years old.
And the hawksbill sea turtle can live to almost 90 years old. Since sea turtles can live for such a long time, this makes them some of the oldest living creatures on our planet.
5. Sea Turtles Devour Jellyfish
Yes. Sea turtles devour jellyfish constantly and they may go on a jellyfish binge throughout the summer. In reality, jellyfish are the primary source of nutrition for the renowned leatherback sea turtle.
Aquatic turtles, just like land turtles, will consume whatever they can get their hands on, and jellyfish are one of the easiest sea creatures to grab. Jellyfish have a high nutritional content, which is vital for sea turtle growth.
6. Sea Turtles Are So Beautiful That It Hurts the Naked Eye
Sea turtles are beautiful creatures. They look like giant tortoises with long tails. Sea turtles are often seen sunbathing on the water’s surface as they love to bask in the sunlight.
Their shells are covered with colorful patterns and designs. They are often found swimming near coral reefs. If you wish to see a sea turtle in real life, visit a wildlife park. You may even spot one while snorkeling!
7. Sea Turtles Are Smart Enough to Survive the Harsh Conditions
Sea turtles are smart animals. They learn how to survive by watching what happens around them. They know that they need to move back to the ocean to feed. And they know when to move into deeper waters to avoid danger.
Scientists think that sea turtles are one of the most genuinely intelligent animals in the Reptilia class of mammals. The reason for their intelligence, as believed by many scholars, is that sea turtles had to adapt to survive in new worlds during the age of exploration.
8. Sea Turtles are Biofluorescent
Sea turtles are unique because they glow in the dark, called biofluorescence. Biofluorescence occurs when certain chemicals inside organisms fluorescence under ultraviolet light.
This phenomenon has been specifically seen in hawksbill turtles, which are believed to use biofluorescence for camouflage and defense.
9. Sea Turtle Is Easy to Sight along the Shore
Sea turtles are often seen swimming along the shore. Sometimes people think they see a log moving across the water. It turns out that it’s a group of sea turtles swimming together. You may want to check your local beach to make sure you find one of the most amazing wildlife sightings ever.
If you’re lucky enough to spot a loggerhead turtle, you can help them by leaving them alone and not feeding them. If you do feed them, be careful not to get any food in their mouth or on their shell.
10. Sea Turtles Have Been Around Since Before Dinosaurs
Sea turtles are an ancient breed of turtle. Scientists believe they evolved from land-dwelling reptiles called Testudines. These reptiles first appeared during the Triassic era. Their fossilized remains were found in China and India.
11. They Cry More Often Than You’d Think
Turtles cry often, but that’s not because they are sad. Turtles have glands that assist them in eliminating excess salt from their eyes. Despite the fact that sea turtles are physiologically acclimated to a salty environment, they must be able to expel excess salt. It may seem like a turtle is sobbing, but it is really simply taking care of itself!
Also want to know about some other turtle species, read these articles:
Different Types of Sea Turtles
Sea turtles are the surviving descendants of a species of reptiles that have roamed our oceans for the past 100 million years. Seven distinct seas (or marine) turtle species may be found in our oceans, from the shallow seagrass meadows of the Indian Ocean to the colorful reefs of the Coral Triangle and the sandy beaches of the Eastern Pacific.
Here, we discuss the five most prevalent varieties of sea turtles –
- Hawksbills get their name from their thin, pointed beaks. Hawksbills are found mostly in tropical waters, particularly on coral reefs. They mostly feed on sponges, which they pull from cracks in the reef with their short-pointed beaks.
- Loggerhead turtles get their name from their enormous heads, which house strong jaw muscles that enable them to crush hard-shelled food like clams and sea urchins. The most common turtle in the Mediterranean is the loggerhead, which nests on beaches from Greece and Turkey to Israel and Libya.
- Leatherback turtles get their name from their shell, which is leathery rather than rigid like other turtle shells. They are the biggest species of sea turtle and one of the most migratory, traveling both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
- The Green Turtle is the biggest of the sea turtles and the only herbivore among the many varieties. Green turtles are called by the greenish tint of their cartilage and fat rather than their shells. Green turtles are mostly found in tropical and subtropical seas. Read this article, Green Sea Turtle Facts for Kids, to know some amazing facts about green turtles.
- Olive Ridley turtle – Its name is derived from the color of its shell, which is olive green. Their vulnerability stems from the fact that they nest in a limited number of locations, therefore any disruption to even one nest beach might have far-reaching consequences for the whole population.
A group of sea turtles is known as a Bale. A raft contains anywhere between 5 and 1000 sea turtles.
Sea turtles eat jellyfish, fish, crabs, clams, shrimp, worms, snails, squid, octopus, starfish, and seaweed.
Green sea turtles usually weigh around 240 pounds on average but some may weigh up to 300 pounds! Also, they are generally found to be 83-114 cm long.
Most sea turtles are able to survive well in tropical and sub-tropical oceans. They also live in temperate regions such as the Mediterranean Sea, the west coast of India.
A sea turtle basically is a reptile known to live in saltwater. There are three main kinds: green sea turtles, loggerheads, and leatherbacks.
Baby sea turtles have been given the name hatchlings. Hatchling turtles grow quickly. They need to swim right away so they don’t drown.
Although jellyfish are a big portion of a turtle’s food, there is nothing in their chemical nature that intoxicates the sea turtle.
Yes, they do. Sea turtles travel in large groups called Bales. Each bale has anywhere between 5 to 1000 members.
Most species have adults that live in estuaries, shallow coastal waters, and lagoons. Some even go out in the middle of the oceanic waters. Some species have offspring that may be spotted in estuaries, bays, and the sea.
Loggerheads typically live for about 70 years. Green sea turtles typically live for 80 years. Leatherback sea turtles can live to be 100 years old.
Scientists estimate that sea turtles have been around since the Triassic Period. They are claimed to be 110 million years old.
The olive and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the smallest, with shell lengths of around 70 cm (just over 2 ft) and weights of up to 100 lbs. Leatherback Sea turtles are the biggest of sea turtles. The world’s biggest leatherback was 2,56 meters (8.4 feet) long and weighed 2,019 lbs.
Sea turtles are unable to breathe underwater, although they can hold their breath for extended periods. Depending on their degree of activity, sea turtles may hold their breath comfortably for many hours.
Sea turtles have been found to hold their breath for 4-7 hours consistently.
Sea turtles are not believed to be very quick swimmers. They typically travel at speeds ranging from 0.9 to 5.8 mph but have been observed swimming at speeds of up to 22 mph when faced with danger.
Some sea turtles migrate hundreds or thousands of miles every year. Loggerhead sea turtles have been recorded traveling more than 620 miles during migration.
They would sometimes go as far as 1,000 m (3280 ft) underwater, however, dives deeper than 300 m (984 ft) are quite unusual. Deep dives are considered to be used to hunt for prey.
Yes. Sea turtles travel together in a group called a “bale”. A typical bale consists of 5 to 1000 individuals.
No, sea turtles cannot retract into their shells because they cannot move their limbs and put their heads back into the shell. They need to keep them free so that they can use them to propel themselves through the water.
Sea turtles have external flippers that are covered with sharp spiny projections. Each flipper is known to host either one or two claws.
No, sea turtle attacks are rare. However, if you encounter a sea turtle while it is basking on the beach, it will likely attack you. It does this by using its head to ram into your body.
Predators include sharks, killer whales, crocodiles, seals, and other reptiles such as to monitor lizards.
Sea turtles have developed several defenses against predators. Some species have thick skin which helps to protect them from super cold temperatures. Others have hard shells which help to protect them from predators’ teeth. Still, others have powerful jaws and strong tail muscles which enable them to defend themselves.
The coloration of sea turtles varies depending upon the species. For example, loggerheads are dark brown, green, black, or grayish brown. Green sea turtles are also known as “leatherbacks” because of the color of their backs. The coloration of leatherbacks is light brown. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are white with pink stripes on their tails. Hawksbill sea turtles are yellow with blue bands along with their bodies. Olive Ridley sea turtles are olive-colored with distinctive orange spots on their heads.
Most sea turtles like to spend their lives in warm tropical waters. When they reach sexual maturity, they begin migrating to cooler waters to initiate the reproduction phase. They lay eggs on land and then return to warmer waters to hunt for food.
Sea turtles execute a crucial role in balancing the ocean ecosystems. As apex predators, they control populations of fish and invertebrates. They also provide food for many animals including seabirds, marine mammals, and people.
Sea turtles are ancient creatures with some fascinating traits. They are some of the oldest surviving creatures on this planet, and they are just marvelous. Here, we’ve highlighted just a few sea turtle facts for kids and hope that you, too, marvel at these incredible animals.
So, the next time you hear someone saying that sea turtles are “dumb animals,” you can sound like a total hero by inserting any one of these eleven amazing facts into the conversation.