Species of the Sea Turtles

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Seven sea turtles species have been gracing marine water over millions of years. Turtles are super-charismatic animals that like spending their entire life in the deep waters. However, they periodically migrate to show to lay eggs or bask.

Six species out of the seven are known to live in US waters while the flatback turtle is found along with Australia’s coastal areas. Here are the seven sea turtle species

Leatherback (Dermochelys coriecea)

The leatherback is the “big boy” of sea turtles. Apart from being the biggest sea turtle, it is also one of the largest (fourth) reptiles ever. This species grows largest, and its weight ranges between 500 to 2000 pounds. On average, leatherback adults measure 5 to 8 feet (1.5-2.4 meters).

The species is said to have a large appetite and can travel several miles in search of food. For instance, an adult female tracked by satellite telemetry traveled 12,000 miles. Because of their thermoregulatory adaptations, they dive deepest of all species, up to 4,000 feet. The population is dropping drastically due to human poaching.

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

It makes one of the most endangered species. At adulthood, these turtles are herbivores and feed on algae, seaweeds, and sea grasses. Green turtles can grow up to four and one-half feet in length and weighs 400 pounds. It is believed that their green label comes from the pigment of diet colors.

Like the leatherback, green turtles are deep divers and can stay underwater for 5 hours. The population has been dropping in the past century due to the harvesting of their eggs and peaching due to their healthy meat.

Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Loggerhead is often seen due to its highly notable large head. They also love sandy beaches and staying along seashores. This species is common in tropical and temperate shorelines of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and oceans.

The species has a heart-like shape, grows up to 4 feet long, and can weigh anywhere between 200 and 400 pounds. Loggerhead are not ready for mating until the age of 33. 

Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) 

You can easily identify hawksbill turtle from the other species because of its shell, which resembles the heart shape. It is characterized by colorful shells, sharp bird-like beaks, and a narrow head.  

Hawksbills are known to reach coral reef crevices as they hunt for food. They grow up to 3 feet extended long and averagely weighs 200 pounds. Averagely, they lay approximately 140 eggs per nest and usually nest four times in every season.

Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) 

Kemp’s Ridley was at the brick of depleting due to high demand. It is the smallest of all turtle species and grows up to 2 feet. On average, these turtles weigh 100 pounds.

Kemp’s Ridleys are grey and green and primarily reside in Mediterranean waters with Rancho Nuevo, Mexico being the main nesting grounds. They are ready for mating within 10 to 15 years of age.

Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea)

It ranks second smallest above the Kemp’s Ridley. On average, this species grows up to two and one-half feet in length and weighs around 100 pounds. Crustaceans and jellyfish make their primary food; however, they can feed on algae if there is no other option.

Olive Ridleys are pale green and make the highest population of turtle species. They start mating around 15 years and can lay up to 100 eggs per nest.

Flatback (Notator depressa)

The species is named after its flat carapace, which is not curved like the other sea turtle shells. Its shell is pale greying-green with upturned outer margins. Unlike other turtle species spread all over, this species is found in Australia’s coastal coral reefs. Flatback turtles weigh approximately 200 pounds and grow up to 3 feet long.