Sea-turtles, commonly known as marine turtles, are sea creatures that belong to class chelonioidea. These sea-living reptiles exist in seven different species in which each of them exhibits unique characteristics. Some of the common species of marine turtles include leatherback, hawksbill, kemp’s ridley, loggerhead, among others.
Seas and oceans are the everyday living habitat for most sea-turtle species, which means these creatures consume most of their lifetime in the water. They usually carry out nesting in tropical and subtropical beaches where waters are shallow. Marine turtles move for long distances in search of food, crossing the entire seas or oceans.
For instance, loggerheads can nest in Japan and then move to Mexico for foraging before returning. The species spread over the continental seas depending on the climatic conditions of the area, and of they favor them. For example, leatherbacks tolerate icy water temperatures, which is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
That is why, in most instances, they are mostly in North Alaska and Chile. Marine turtles spend all their lives in water unless when female adults move to shores for egg-laying. These female adults lay eggs several times in a season, which is between two to five years.
The laid eggs take about sixty days to hatch from the sandy nests. After hatching, the juvenile turtles find their way to the ocean as they are enthusiastic about the distant horizon. For the first few years, these baby turtles live on open seas and oceans. After they have grown to adults, they move to estuaries, nearshore waters, and protected inlets.
Since these sea-reptiles exist in different species, their diet also differs from one type to the other. Therefore each species has a different food that it feeds on. Some of these reptiles are omnivores and thus feed on animals and plants while others depend on sponges.
Types of marine turtles and their diet
Adult loggerheads are carnivores and feed on sea animals with heavy shells. They eat conchs, crabs, whelks, and clams. Unlike adult loggerheads, the young sea-turtles are omnivores feeding on plants and animals. The species have gigantic heads with muscular mandibles for crushing hard shells of their prey.
Leatherback’s diet consists of only invertebrates with soft bodies and jellies such as sea squirts and tunicates. The creatures’ jaws have two sharply pointed cusps to feed on gelatin and other soft-bodied prey.
These are omnivores and can feed on a wide range of plants and animals. Their diet includes urchin, algae, shrimp, fish, lobster, and crabs.
Like Olive ridley, flatbacks are omnivores and eat jellies, shrimp, fish, mollusks, soft corals, seaweeds, and cucumbers.
Hawksbills exclusively feed on sponges; they have narrow and sharp beaks that resemble that of a bird. The beak enables them to get into crevices of coral reefs.
They are herbivores and mostly feed on algae, seaweed, and seagrasses. Their teeth have fine serrates to allow them to tear seaweeds and grasses and remove algae for sea rocks.
Sea turtles spend their entire life in and depend on terrestrial creatures and plants as their food. They rarely come to the beach shores unless they are female sea-turtles since they lay eggs on shores. After those eggs hatching, the hatchlings will spend part of their life on the beaches but later join the others once they are adults.