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- The largest species of turtle is the Leatherback, known to weigh up to 2,000lbs/907kg. As indicated by the name “Leatherback”, this species of sea turtle is also the only one to not have a hard bony shell, instead it is flexible and “rubbery” to touch.
- Sea turtles are omnivores, eating a variety of plants and animals, however, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles are specialists as their diet primarily consists of sponges (Hawksbill) and jellyfish (Leatherback).
- Travelling massive distances across the oceans, with an amazing sense of direction through the use of magnetic fields, female turtles return to lay their eggs where they themselves were born.
- They come ashore 3-5 times in a 15 day period to lay >100 eggs each session, laying at night to avoid the heat of the day.
- Turtle eggs are considered a delicacy in many countries, meaning turtles nests are raided and eggs taken to be sold on the black market, they don’t even have the chance to be born.
- Many get eaten by birds, crabs or big fish, and if they survive the predators, many die from starvation or illness. Lights from towns can confuse the hatchlings as they mistake the lights for being moonlight on the ocean, meaning they head the opposite direction from the sea into towns where they encounter vehicles. Only about 2 out of 1000 hatchlings survive to become adults.
- 6/7 sea turtle species are listed as “vulnerable”, “endangered” or “critically endangered” by the IUCN Red List.
- Sea turtles have temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), where by environmental temperatures determine the sex/gender of their hatchlings. Temperatures below 28C will mean all the eggs become male, temperatures above 31C results in all females. With climate change increasing global temperatures, this is leading more hatchlings to be born female. When combining the low survival rates as hatchlings, with the increase in female hatchlings, this is resulting in their being fewer males available in the oceans to mate with. No males = no eggs.