Sea turtles are long-lived reptiles, with some living for more than 50 years. They won't attain sexual maturity until they're around 30 years old. They've been doing this for more than 100 million years; however, in recent decades, humans have threatened them, which could lead to extinction. Some of these challenges, such as poaching for their meat or shells, pollution, habitat loss owing to coastal development, and climate change, have significantly influenced sea turtle populations.
One of the most serious risks to most sea turtles is unexpected arrest by fishing gear (that typically results in death). Vessel strikes are also prevalent and can cause serious injury or death to turtles. Propellers and blunt force damage from the vessel's hull can inflict injuries or death. Sea turtles spend most of their life in the ocean, only coming ashore to bask or lay their eggs. They frequent seagrass beds, tidal mangrove creeks, and coral reefs that are key feeding places. Sea turtles help to sustain seagrass beds or coral reefs by eating them. This implies they are charismatic and adorable animals and a necessary species for maintaining healthy marine ecosystems.
1. They are quite old
Sea turtles are among the oldest organisms globally, with the oldest known fossil dating back to at least 120 million years. That indicates they lived on the same planet as dinosaurs, which died out 65 million years ago.
2. There are no teeth in turtles
Their meal is grasped with their beak-like mouth. Keratin is used to make this beak (the same substance your fingernails are made of).
3. Nothing beats the comfort of one's own home
When it's a period to lay their eggs, female sea turtles migrate to the same nesting sites where they were born.
4. There's no need to bring your scuba gear
Green turtles can hold their breath for up to five hours underwater. To do so, they reduce their pulse rate to as low as nine minutes between heartbeats to conserve oxygen.
5. A powerful lifter
The leatherback turtle is the largest of all living turtles, weighing up to 900 kilograms.
Turtle hatchlings are adorable, but only about one in a thousand will grow up to be an adult.
7. Gender bender
The temperature of the nest regulates the gender of a hatchling. More females emerge from warmer temperatures, while more men emerge from cooler conditions.
8. Keep swimming
Unlike females, male sea turtles spend practically their entire lives at sea.
9. Turtle tears
Turtles do cry, but not because of sadness. They have glands that help drain excess salt from their eyes, giving them the appearance of sobbing.
They live for about 100 years, which is also the average number of eggs laid by female sea turtles when they lay their eggs.
The most serious threat to sea turtles is mistakenly caught in fishing gear. More than half of all marine turtles are thought to have consumed plastic and other human waste, mistaking it for nourishment, such as jellyfish. Plastic that washes up on beaches can also restrict nesting areas and obstruct young hatchlings' access to the ocean.
Turtle habitats are now being demolished and are in jeopardy. For example, half of the world's coral reefs have perished, and the rest may perish entirely by 2050 if climate change continues unabated. Climate change can raise the sand temperature (warmer temperatures create more females than males, biasing sex ratios), promote sea level rise (that can flood nests), and increase storm events, all of which can impact hatchling survival.