Did you know that sea turtles don't have teeth? They have beaks adapted for their diet which, depending on the species, can range from seagrass to jellyfish and small crustaceans. They also don't have visible ears but eardrums covered by skin, so can hear best at low frequencies. Their sense of smell is second to none, not to forget 20/20 vision underwater, although these relaxed reptiles are near sighted out of water. More than enough turtle facts to win the next (very niche) pub quiz, but if you'd like to hear some more turtle-y awesome facts (sorry), read on...

Turtle

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

There are seven species of sea turtle including leatherback, green sea, loggerhead, hawksbill, kemp's ridley, olive ridley and flatback sea turtle. The leatherback is the largest of the sea turtles and the largest ever recorded measured almost ten feet long and weighed a whopping 1,980 pounds! The smallest is the kemp's ridley turtle which can measure up to 76cm and weigh up to 99 pounds.

Baby turtle

Survival Of The Fittest

While a female will lay up to 150 eggs every two to three years, very few will make it to adulthood, whether running the gauntlet from nest to water or facing the predators of the open ocean, only around one hatchling in every thousand survives. The lucky females who make it will not touch land again until they return to the very same beach to hatch their own young, which, depending on the species ranges between ten to 50 years later. Males never return to land.

Turtle resting

Sex – It’s A Temperature Thing

The temperature of the sand will determine the hatchling's gender. Warmer temperatures will generate females while cooler temperatures generate males. While the optimum temperature for an equal ratio differs between species and location, climate change has seen an increasing number of females. Turtles are also increasingly threated by human activity, from being caught as bycatch (particularly in longline and purse seine fishing) to habitat loss to consumption of their eggs and meat, six out of the seven species of turtle are now classified as endangered.

Turtle swimming

Where To See Turtles

Bar the Polar regions, turtles can be found worldwide. Mingle with giant tortoises and five out of seven species of sea turtle in Alphonse, where you can also volunteer on sea turtle conservation projects. On the topic of conservation, the Turks & Caicos Turtle Project has tagged some 300 green-turtles since 2011. The Maldives, Oman and Tanzania are also keen on turtle conservation so it is possible to see huge numbers of these remarkable reptiles in these destinations.

"While on a charter trip in Raja Ampat the crew treated us to a surprise barbecue on a secluded beach by candlelight. Halfway through our feast, a weary green turtle heaved her way up the beach to dig a hole and deposit her eggs under the stars. This would be the exact same beach she had struggled to the water from as a hatchling herself, some 20 years ago, and the first time she’d made landfall since!"
India Tyndall, Original Diving Specialist
Sea turtle and coral
In Numbers
7

Species

Number of species of turtle

10,000

miles

Distance leatherbacks travel annually

60

Bones

Make up a turtle's shell

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Louisa, Lizzie B and India are our 'Turtles' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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