Fascinating Turtles - Part 2
Sea turtles are identified by their large, streamlined shell. Their flippers are mostly used for swimming, and are not adapted to walking on land. On land they are clumsy and awkward, but in water, they are like graceful soaring eagles! The sea turtle’s nostrils are on top of their head because they need to breathe every few minutes. However, they use less energy when they are resting and do not need much oxygen. They can stay about two hours under water during their rest.
Types of sea turtles
Leatherback sea turtles
The Leatherback is the largest of all living sea turtles. Mature leatherbacks reach about 1.2 to 1.9 m and weigh 200 to 506 kg. The largest leatherback recorded weighed 916 kg. In addition to that, Leatherbacks are able to dive deepest, and also travel the farthest out into the sea. The leatherback sea turtle got its name from its shell. Instead of having hard shells like most sea turtles, the leatherback grows a tough, leathery carapace on its back. This way, they can withstand freezing water that is colder than forty degrees. These turtles like to eat jellyfishes, so they are often found far in the sea, where jellyfishes live. Sadly, now a lot of discarded plastic bags are floating around in the water, and the leatherback turtle mistake them for jellyfishes, and eats them, only to die of suffocation when they choke.
Green sea turtles
Green sea turtles can reach about 78 to 112 cm and 68 to 186 kg. These turtles are not really green, but they get their name from the green fat they have in their body. The green sea turtle can swim for brief seconds at the speed of nearly 20 miles per hour. Although these species are endangered, they can still be found in large numbers on the coast of Florida, because there is a law to protect turtles. Green sea turtles are usually solitary, but when feeding in shallow water, they gather in large numbers, eating sea grass and algae together.
Male or Female
Male and female are the same size, and they don’t look very different from each other, even when mature. However, one way to tell the difference is by their tails. Adult males have longer, thicker tails than females. For males, the tail may extend beyond the hind flippers. Males also have claws on the fore flippers that are elongated and curved.
Sea turtles are usually solitary. The only times one can see a turtle gathering together is when feeding, or when a male is looking for a mate. Some species also gather together to go to the grounds on which they will lay their eggs. After the female lays its eggs, turtles separate until the next mating.
Sea turtles have fascinated many, from the beginning. However, humans are polluting the oceans, where these magnificent creatures live, and what would become of them? Some are injured, accidentally caught, or killed for their shells. Many sea turtles are near extinction, and might even disappear before we know everything about these turtles. A small change can make a big difference, so we are helping these turtle keep away from extinction, but still, numbers are decreasing every year. What is there that you can help with? Do it before it’s too late or these flying birds of the sea will disappear!