Fascinating Turtles - Part 1
Turtles are amazing creatures from the huge Leatherback Turtle to the smallest, Riley Turtles. There are roughly about two hundred seventy-five species altogether.
Nobody exactly knows how long the turtles’ lifespan is. Nobody has lived long enough to study the whole lifespan of the sea turtles. However, scientists are guessing that the total lifespan of the sea turtle is forty to sixty years long. The shell is made of the upper dome called carapace, which is the top of the shell, and the bottom plates called plastron. They are covered with scutes, or epidermis, which are made of keratin, the material that makes your fingernail.
The scutes grow with the turtle, and when it is too tight they shed their scutes and grow a new one. Some sea turtles form new layers of keratin around the outer edge of each scute looking a bit like tree growth rings. People say if you can count them to tell the age, but it’s not always accurate.
Dangers of the rush to sea
After hatching, the baby turtles make a mad dash out to the sea. Many dangers lay before them, and many die before reaching the sea. It is a good thing that there are so many of them, so that some may continue the life cycle of the turtles. Seagulls, crabs, and other turtle-loving predators are lurking about; waiting for the time the babies will appear. Although most baby turtles go find the sea at dark, these predators seem to know the times the turtles come out.
Still another danger lies ahead of them. The turtles find their way to the ocean not by the sound of the waves like some believes, but by the light of the horizon. They follow the reflection of the moon that floats on the water. However, sometimes, they can get distracted by man-made lights, and follow that instead, ending up as a turtle soup in some cases. Thomas Edison might be a hero to us, but not to the turtles!
Sea turtles’ diet
Sea turtles usually start out as omnivores, which mean that they eat both meat and vegetables. Their diet includes seaweed, algae, plankton, krill, and other small animals. However, when mature and older, most of the sea turtles become mostly vegetarians. Despite being herbivores, which means only eating vegetable, most sea turtles still love to eat jellyfishes. They have no teeth, but powerful beak-like mouth which is strong enough to snap a lobster into two. To eat, they bite off small pieces of their prey and swallow them.
[Continued in Part 2]