Diving with turtles can be an exciting experience. Sea turtles are found around the world, although they tend to perfer warmer locations. Here are the Top 10 fun facts about sea turtles.
7 species of sea turtles
There are 7 species of sea turtles(hawksbill, green, flatback, loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley and olive ridley turtles), 6 of them being endangered. This is partly due to human activities and partly due to the very low survival rate of their youngs.
Turtles are reptiles
Being a reptile means they are cold-blooded animals, lay eggs and use lungs to breathe.
The leatherback turtle is the largest sea turtle
The leatherback turtle can measure between 4 – 8 ft (1.2m – 2.4 m) and weigh up to 2000 lbs (900kg). In general, sea turtles measure between 2 – 8 ft (0.5m – 2.4m) and weigh between 75 – 2000lbs (34kg – 900kg)
Leatherback turtles can dive as deep as 4000 ft. (1200m). Only a few other marine creatures such as the beaked whales and the elephant seals can dive deeper. However, as reptiles, turtles will eventually have to come up to the surface for a gulp of fresh air.
Turtles hear without ears
You may have noticed that our shelled friends lack any ear openings. However, this does not make them deaf. They possess an eardrum-like membrane which allows them to detect sounds. While humans are able to perceive sounds between 20 and 20,000 Hz, turtles are limited to a range of 50 to 1,500 Hz.
Turtles have no teeth
Turtles have no teeth, however they have strong jaws which allow them to eat crustaceans. Diet depends on the species.
Survival of the fittest
During the breeding season, the females will come on shore to lay eggs on the beach and then head back to the sea. The offsprings are then left off to fight on their own. Once they hatched, they must get to the water as soon as possible to avoid predators. Only one hatchling out of one thousand will make it into adulthood.
Temperature affects the gender of the hatchlings
Scientists have observed that the gender of the baby turtles is determined by temperature. Warm eggs, depending on the location of the nest, may lead to the development of more female baby turtles.
Male vs. Female
There are no physical differences between males and females (called sexual dimorphism). One may tell a male from female in certain adult turtles by the size of their tails.
Contrary to other sea turtles which are solitary nesters, Olive Ridley and Kemp’s Ridley turtles come ashore to lay their eggs with thousands of other female turtles. These mass nesting are called arribadas and occur only in a few locations such as Costa Rica, Australia, Mexico and a few others.
Learn about sea turtles in Costa Rica
Join Rich Coast Diving‘s special summer program in Playas Del Coco. During one month, either learn to dive with a beginner course or improve your diving skills with the PADI Advanced diver course or Rescue Diver course. In addition, join three specialty diving courses learning about turtles, rays and sharks. And the highlight of this marine internship program : unlimited diving !