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Sea Turtle Information & Web Sites

     Black     Green     Flatback     Hawksbill     

Kemp's Ridley     Leatherback   Olive Ridley    Loggerhead 
     


Last Updated    8/27/2006       7/7/2006      7/6/2006      12/23/2005     10/15/2005     10/14/2005     10/9/2005     10/8/2005      8/13/2005      4/11/2005      4/4/2005      3/5/2005     2/27/2005       1/15/2005     1/1/2005     12/29/2004     12/19/2004     12/18/2004     12/11/2004     11/17/2004     11/13/2004     4/21/203     4/7/2003     4/3/2003     3/29/2003      3/27/2003     3/26/2003     3/24/2003



SEA TURTLE FACTS


Adult males and females are equal size.  The leather back sea turtle is the largest sea turtle reaching about 105cm in length and about 101kg in weight.

They may be olive-green, yellow, greenish-brown, or black in color.

The sea turtle is known for its large shell.  It cannot retract it head and limbs under its shell as land turtles can.  The large, bony shell provides protection from predation and abrasion.  The shell is covered with a layer of horny plates called scutes.

Sea turtles do not have large upper eyelids that provide protection for their eyes. They do not have external ear openings. They do not have teeth.

The adult male sea turtles have longer and thicker tails than females.

Sea turtles are found in warm seas throughout the world.

Adults are found in shallow coastal waters, bays and lagoons. Some sea turtles migrate from feeding grounds to nesting grounds, others nest and feed in the same general area.

Diet varies with species. Sea turtles may be carnivorous (meat eating), herbivorous (plant eating), or omnivorous (eating both meat and plants). The jaw structure of many species indicates their diet.

For example:

1. Green and black sea turtles have jaws that are adapted for a vegetarian diet of sea grasses.

2. Loggerheads' and Ridleys' jaws are adapted for crushing and grinding. Their diet consists primarily of crab, mollusks, shrimps, jellyfish and vegetation.

Some types of sea turtles change their eating habits as they age. For example, green sea turtles are mainly carnivorous from hatchling until juvenile size; they then shift to a herbivorous diet.

Reproduction

Like other turtles, sea turtles lay eggs.  They must come ashore to do so. For most types of turtles the females usually nest during the warmest months of the year. The exception is the leatherback turtle, which nests in fall and winter.  Most females return to the same nesting beach each year.  Recent studies suggest that some females of some species will visit more than one nesting beach in a season.

Females usually come ashore at night, alone, most often during high tide. A female turtle crawls above the high tide line and using her front flippers, digs out a "body pit." Then using her hind flippers, she digs an egg cavity.  The depth of the cavity is determined by the length of the stretched hind flipper.

Depending on the species, the female deposits 50 - 200 eggs into the egg cavity. The eggs are soft-shelled and are papery to leathery in texture.  They do not break when they fall into the egg cavity.  The eggs are surrounded by a thick, clear mucus.

The female covers the nest with sand using her hind flippers. Burying her eggs serves three purposes;

    1. protects the eggs from predators

    2. helps keep the soft eggs from drying out

    3. helps the eggs to maintain proper temperature

Experts can identify the species of turtle by the type of mound left by the nesting female and by her flipper tracks in the sand.

Females may spend two or more hours out of the water during the entire nesting process.

Females usually lay between one and nine clutches (groups) of eggs per season.

It is possible that through the storage of sperm from one or several males in the oviducts of the females, all clutches of the current nesting season may be fertilized without repeated matings.

Females may nest every two to three years. Sea turtles hatch throughout the year but mostly in summer. 

Incubation time varies with species, clutch size, and temperature and humidity in the nest.  The incubation time for most species is 45 to 70 days. Research indicates that the sex of an embryo is determined sometime after fertilization, as the embryo develops, and may be temperature dependent. Lower nest temperatures produce more males; higher temperatures produce more females. 


Hatchlings use a caruncle (temporary egg tooth) to help break open the shell.  After hatching, the young turtles may take three to seven days to dig their way to the surface.  Hatchlings usually wait until night to emerge from the nest. Emerging at night reduces exposure to daytime predators. They leave the nest and head to the water in groups. Studies have shown that some nests will produce hatchlings on more than one night.

There are several theories as to how htachlings find the sea.  Hatchlings may discriminate light intensities and head for the greater light intensity of the open horizon.  During the crawl to the sea, the hatchling may set an internal magnetic compass, which it uses for navigation away from the beach.

When a hatchling reaches the surf, it dives into a wave and rides the undertow out to sea.  A "swim frenzy" of continuous swimming takes place for about 24 to 48 hours after the hatchling enters the water. This frantic activity gets the young turtle into deeper water, where it is less vulnerable to predators.  There have been reports of swimming hatchlings diving straight down when birds and even airplanes appear overhead. This diving behavior may be a behavioral adaptation for avoiding predation by birds.


During the first year, many species of sea turtles are rarely seen. This first year is known as the "lost year."  Researchers generally agree that most hatchlings spend their first few years living an oceanic existence before appearing in coastal areas. Although the migratory patterns of the young turtles during the first year has long been a puzzle, most researchers believe that they ride prevailing surface currents, situating themselves in floating seaweed where they are camouflaged and where they can find food.

Research suggests that flatback hatchlings do not go through an oceanic phase. Evidence shows that they young turtles remain inshore following the initial swim frenzy. Most remain within 15 km (9.3 miles) of land.

 

TURTLE RESOURCES

ART PROJECTS
crayon0a.gif (328 bytes) Paper Sea Turtle
CARAPACE
 Pencil.gif (434 bytes) Comparing Sea Turtle Size Using Carapace
COLORING PAGES
 crayon0a.gif (328 bytes) Green Sea Turtle   National Geographic
 crayon0a.gif - 328 Bytes  Sea Turtle Coloring Book
 crayon0a.gif (328 bytes)  Turtle Eggs and Walnut Turtles   Make eggs from balloons and paper mache.  Create a scence of hatching baby turtles.
CONSERVATION
readme.gif (1442 bytes) Sea Turtle Sancutary
 Note02.gif (247 bytes)Sea Turtle Conservation  12 pages of sea turtle information
 Earth.gif - 6650 Bytes  How Can we Help? The following list contains things that you can do to help the sea turtle. Never approach turtles emerging from the sea or disturb or harass nesting sea turtles. Watch nesting turtles by joining one of the many state-permitted turtle walks conducted by experienced guides.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) St Catherines Sea Turtle Conservation Program    Confronted with the exploding population of humans and their ever increasing technology, sea turtles have become seriously threatened and endangered; not a new phenomenon for individual species throughout geologic time, but unique due to a world-wide endangerment of sea turtles because of their interactions with humans.
EXTRA CREDIT
 star.gif (2279 bytes) Plotting the Migration of Sea Turtles   Use the following sets of position points, provided by researchers, to create your own map of a turtle's movements.
 star.gif (2279 bytes) Sea Turtles Dig the Dark   The Mayor of a historical coastal city is managing the construction of a long-awaited bridge connecting his town to another bustling city just across two wide rivers.    The bridge architects have an idea for this outstanding bridge to light up the sky at night so the bridge could be known as a “Cathedral of Light”!    Will these lights really disturb the ancient species of loggerhead sea turtles that return to the nearby beaches to nest? Print this Sea Turtles Dig the Dark Worksheet and answer the questions.
 star.gif (2279 bytes) Sea Turtle Maze
 star.gif (2279 bytes) Sea Turtle Strandings    The student will be able to calculate percentages and construct a pie graph from sea turtle stranding data.   Calculate the percentage of strandings represented by each species.  Draw a pie graph to illustrate the strandings.
 star.gif (2279 bytes) Sea Turtle Worksheet   Click on the sea turtle story icon on http://teacher.scholastic.com/turtles/index.asp to complete this worksheet
GAMES
Race for the Sea   A sea turtle survival game
HISTORY
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Archelon
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) The Giant Archelon
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Turtle PreHistory
INFORMATION
 Note02.gif (247 bytes) All Species fact Sheet
 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Gulf of Mexico Sea Turtle Poster
 Note02.gif - 247 Bytes Sea Turtle Poster
 Note02.gif - 247 Bytes Turtle Skeleton Diagram
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Sea Turtles    This page gives a brief description about the different species of sea turtles.  There is also general information about turtles on the whole.  Includes information on why species are on the endangered list.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Turtle Biology   Sea turtles are ancient creatures. They have traveled our planet for more than 200 million years, tracing a highly successful evolutionary path, living in a variety of environments from dry land to the open sea.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Turtle Traxs  A page devoted to sea turtles.
 filmreel.gif (313 bytes) Video Clips of Sea Turtles
NEWS
 bookpages.gif (1592 bytes) Sea Turtle News
 bookpages.gif (1592 bytes) Sea Turtle News Archives
ONLINE QUIZES
 braininjar.gif - 1615 Bytes Coastal Habitat On Line Quiz
 braininjar.gif - 1615 Bytes Sea Turtle On Line Quiz   I only got 7 out of 10 correct!  Iguess I better go back and reread the information again.
 braininjar.gif - 1615 Bytes Skeleton Quiz: Turtle and Human    A turtle, human and one other mystery animal have exploded together and their bones have become mixed up. See if you can put them back together again by completing one of the challenges.
PAPER
 Pencil.gif (434 bytes) Sea Turtle Lined Paper  Green Sea Turtle  Loggerhead  Leatherback  Kemp's Ridley  Hawksbill
Sea Turtle Hatchlings  Sea Turtle Nesting
PROJECTS
 Pencil.gif (434 bytes) Sea Turtle Life Cycles  Migration Projects: Includes turtle satellite data and plotting maps
 Pencil.gif (434 bytes) Sea Turtle Migration-Tracking & Costal Habitat Educational Guide  This is a 41 page guide about sea turtles from the Carribean Conservation Corps: Sea Turtle Survival League. I use the sea turtle paper below for projects.
 Pencil.gif (434 bytes) Sea Turtle Projects  I have 16 projects that kids can work individually, with a partner, or in a group.
SAND
Magnify0b.gif (341 bytes) Beach Sand  Asses sand samples by size, type, and rounding.
THREATS and PROBLEMS
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Current Threats and Problems Turtles spend most of their lives at sea, but lay their eggs on land. When the hatchlings are born, they rely on reflected moonlight to guide them to the sea and safety. 
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Light Pollution  Although lights that cause nesting turtles to abandon nesting attempts are bad, lights that cause hatchlings to move in the wrong direction and die are probably worse. Generally, the longer a light is left on the greater the harm it can cause hatchlings (the longer they may travel in the wrong direction).
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Lights  On beaches where artificial lighting is visible, the hatchlings' important journey to the sea is disrupted. Hatchling sea turtles emerging from nests at night are strongly attracted to light sources along the beach. Consequently, hatchlings move toward streetlights, porch lights or interior lighting visible through windows, and away from the relative sanctuary of the ocean.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Longline Fishing Fact Sheet
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Monofilament  The general cause of death was obvious — entanglement in monofilament line.
 Earth.gif - 6650 Bytes Sea Turtles:Current Threats and Problems Turtles spend most of their lives at sea, but lay their eggs on land. When the hatchlings are born, they rely on reflected moonlight to guide them to the sea and safety.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Threats to Sea Turtles  Threats to sea turtles occur at practically all stages in their life-cycle. Their nesting beaches are threatened by beachfront developments, poorly managed tourism activities and sand mining.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Threats to the Turtles The mortality rate of the sea turtles is very high. In the case of the leatherback, it is estimated that under optimum conditions, 60% of fertile eggs laid will produce baby turtles, but only 1 to 3% will eventually become adults and reproduce.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Threats to Turtles: Airport Noise  A study in 1990 by the National Aviation Service on the impacts of the airport on nesting sea turtles showed clearly that significant disturbance occurred to nesting loggerheads. The greatest disturbance would occur at night and cause females to return to the sea without successful laying.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Threats to Sea Turtles: Fishing  Throughout their lives, turtles of differing ages and species travel extensively throughout the Mediterranean Sea. During their movements, the turtles come into contact with a great deal of fishing activity, nearly all of which is potentially lethal to them. It is estimated that at least 6000-8000 Mediterranean sea turtles are caught by fishing activities every year (Demetropoulos). The main species caught is the loggerhead turtle.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Threats to Sea Turtles: Pollution The Mediterranean shores are shared between people and many marine organisms. Once clean, free of pollutants and tourism, there is now a steadily increasing coastline population of over 300 million and a huge tourist industry. Garbage is becoming a major threat to this fragile ecosysatem, not least because the waters of this beautiful enclosed sea are only renewed after more than 100 years
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Turtle Threats While in the ocean, adult green turtles have to avoid large predators such as sharks and killer whales. And even when they survive these predators and arrive after a long migration at the Turtle Islands to breed and nest, these adult turtles face still more threats. They may be caught by trawlers or long-lines, or destroyed by dynamite, before they even reach the beaches to lay eggs.




SEA TURTLE SPECIES

Australian Flatback   Natator depressa

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 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Flatback Sea Turtle Fact Sheet
 Earth.gif - 6650 BytesBasic Biology, Nesting Sites, & Range of the Flatback Sea Turtle


Black Sea Turtle   Chelonia agassizzii

BlackSeaTurtle.GIF - 4658 Bytes

 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Local Environment: Black Sea Turtle    The black sea turtle nests on the sandy beaches of Mexico.  The black shares these beaches with the olive ridley.   Each female black sea turtle lays between 70-90 eggs.  They have an incubation period of 50 days.  The turtles hatch from August to January.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Living Inhabitants List: Black Sea Turtle   Long considered to be a sub-species of the green sea turtle, black sea turtles tend to inhabit bays and protected shores, and are not commonly observed in the open ocean.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Monterey Bay Aquarium: Living Species List: Black Sea Turtle   Long considered to be a sub-species of the green sea turtle, black sea turtles tend to inhabit bays and protected shores, and are not commonly observed in the open ocean.
Sea Turtles Inc.: Black Sea Turtle   This turtle's common name is derived from the almost black coloration of it's shell.

 

Green Sea Turtle   Chelonia mydas

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 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Green Sea Turtle Fact Sheet
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) A Most Amazing Animal, The Green Sea Turtle  Which turtle species lays the greatest number of eggs? Which turtle may migrate over 1000 miles to nest and may fast for over four months? Do you know which turtle navigates by magnetic cues and is the second largest turtle species in the world? Which species of turtle may lay a single clutch of eggs that were fertilized by multiple males? Can you name a turtle that is found in Africa, South America, Asia, North America and Hawaii and belongs to one of the oldest fossil turtle groups? Which turtle has been called the world's most valuable reptile?    If your answer to all of the above questions was the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), you can pat yourself on the back.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Green Sea Turtle  Information from the University of Michigan.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas  The green sea turtle is the largest of the hard-shelled marine turtles, reaching an average size of 500 lbs. Green turtles have been prized for thousands of years for their meat, commonly being referred to as the cattle of the oceans. From the Tampa Bay Tour of the Turtles.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Green Sea Turtle Fact Sheet     Distributed widely throughout the world's tropical and semi-tropical oceans, populations of this once abundant sea turtle have drastically declined. The only sea turtle with four large costal plates on each side of its smooth-edged shell, the green sea turtle is olive-brown to black above and yellowish-white below. It is named for the color of its body fat.  From the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Green Turtle   Distribution, Attributes, and Diet of Chelonia mydas 
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Green Turtle Chelonia mydas   The "green" in green turtle refers to the coloration of its body fat.is listed as endangered in Florida.. The species has been harvested for centuries for food, but now is threatened with extinction. 
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Green Turtle: Species Under Threat   Although traditionally used as a food source by many littoral peoples, the primary cause of decline in Green Turtle populations is systematic commercial exploitation of eggs and adults, coupled with beach disturbance.  


Hawksbill   Eretmochelys imbricata

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 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Atlantic Hawksbill Recovery Plan
 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Hawksbill Fact Sheet
 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Status of Hawksbill Sea Turtle
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Atlantic Hawksbill Sea Turtle   The Atlantic hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata imbricata) is one of the smallest sea turtles of the Gulf of Mexico weighing only 95-165 lbs. (43-75 kg) as an adult and usually reaching a carapace (upper shell) length of 30-60 inches.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Atlantic Hawksbill Sea Turtle Fact Sheet   Severely persecuted for "tortoiseshell" jewelry, this turtle derives its name from the hooked beak formed by its yellowish jaws. It is the only sea turtle with overlapping carapace scales (lacking when very young or very old). Hawksbill sea turtles have two pairs of prefrontal plates between the eyes.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Basic Biology, Nesting Sites & Range of the Hawksbill Sea Turtle
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Hawksbill, Eretmmochelys imbricata   The hooked, beak-like jaws give this turtle its common name. The generic name, Eretmochplys, means "oar turtle," from the way it swims, and the specific name, imbricata, means "overlapping" because the shields on the carapace overlap like tiles on a roof. The hawksbill is one of the smaller sea turtles.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Hawksbill Sea Turtle  Information from the University of Michigan. 
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Hawksbill: Species Under Threat   Threatened primarily by long-term and intensifying trade in tortoiseshell, the thick carapace and plastral scutes, whose often attractive pattern is fully revealed when polished. Many littoral peoples have used tortoiseshell for artefacts and jewellery, but continuing demand in international trade has raised shell prices to the point where Hawksbills are pursued even when only rarely encountered
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Hawksbill Tour of the Turtles   Hawksbills are extremely endangered due to the demand for their shell, which is used for various jewelries and artifacts throughout the world.


Kemp's Ridley   Lepidochelys kempii

KempsRidley.GIF - 3638 Bytes
 crayon0a.gif (328 bytes) Kemps Ridley Art Project
 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Kemps Ridley Fact Sheet
 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Kemps Ridley Recovery Plan
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Atlantic Ridley Sea Turtle Fact Sheet  The smallest member of the sea turtle family, this reptile is also considered the most endangered. Adults grow to a length of 20-28 inches (51-71 cm) and weigh 80-110 pounds (36-50 kg). Atlantic ridley sea turtles have a distinctive round to heart-shaped shell that ranges in color from gray-brown to olive to black.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Basic Biology, Nesting Sites & Range of the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Kemps Ridley  Kemp's ridley is the smallest and most endangered of the world's seven sea turtle species. It was named after a Key West resident, Richard Kemp, who sent two ridley specimens to Harvard's Agassiz Museum for identification about 90 years ago.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Kemps Ridley Turtle  The Kemp's Ridley sea turtle is the smallest of the marine turtles, reaching an average adult size of just over 100 lbs. Each year Ridley sea turtles gather off the shores of Mexico to nest in mass.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Kemp's Ridley: Distribution, Attributes, and Diet  The Kemps Ridley or Lepidochelys kempi is the smallest of the ocean-going turtles. Its circular shell measures only 26 to 27 inches in length and the animal itself weighs in at between 80 and 100 pounds.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle  The Kemp's ridley sea turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, is the smallest of the five species of sea turtles found in the Gulf of Mexico. It has an average length of 23 to 27.5 inches and average weight of 100 pounds. This sea turtle is the only one with an almost circular upper shell.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Kemp's Ridley Species Under Threat   Kemp's Ridley is carnivorous in adult feeding habits, mainly a bottom-feeding species. Fish, jellyfish, echinoderms, crustaceans, gastropod and cephalopod molluscs, are among recorded prey items, but crabs appear to be the favoured diet of non-hatchling Kemp's Ridley.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Life Cycle of the Kemp's Ridley  A Kemp's Ridley sea turtle life cycle in pictures.

 

Leatherback   Dermochelys coriacea

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 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Endangered Leatherback Teacher's Kit
 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Leatherback Fact Sheet
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Atlantic Leatherback Turtle   The Atlantic Leatherback is easily distinguished from the other oceanic turtles by its smooth leather-skinned carapace, which has 7 prominent longitudinal keels. The carapace varies from brown to black, as do the head and neck. The flippers are black but may have some white blotches. The plastron is white with some black blotching.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Bagheera: Leatherback Sea Turtles  Once a male leatherback sea turtle struggles from its egg and makes its way to the sea as a 4-inch (10 cm) hatchling, it may never again return to land during its 80-year lifetime. Although they are air-breathing animals born on land, leatherbacks, like all sea turtles, spend their lives in the ocean. Females return to land only to lay their eggs.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Endangered Species: Leatherback Sea Turtles  The leatherback turtle was listed as endangered throughout its range on June 2, 1970. Nesting populations of leatherback sea turtles are especially difficult to discern because the females frequently change beaches. However, current estimates are that 20,000-30,000 female leatherbacks exist worldwide.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Endangered Species: The Leatherback Turtle   The Leatherback turtle is a sea turtle so unique that it has its own family (scientific category). All other sea turtles belong to the Cheloniidae family. Leatherback turtles are the sole members of the Dermochelyidae family.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) EuroTurtle: Leatherback Turtles  The Leatherback Turtle is the largest of all the marine turtles. It is found all over the world and is one of the few marine reptiles that can successfully control its body temperature. It is the most pelagic of all the turtles, and only comes near land during the nesting season.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Nesting Area
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Sea Turtle Fact Sheet  This unusual marine reptile is the largest living turtle, reaching up to 6 feet (183 cm) in length and weighing up to 1,300 pounds (590 kg). The barrel-shaped body is covered with leathery skin, hence its name.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Sea Turtle  Found worldwide, their primary nesting beaches in the Atlantic are on the northern coast of South America and at various locations around the Carribbean. A few nest in Florida and South Africa. They have also been reported to nest in the Gulf of Mexico.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Sea Turtles  The leatherback is the largest sea turtle. It can grow up to 6.5 feet (2 m) long and weigh 1,400 pounds (636 kg). The leatherback gets its name from its shell, which is like a thick leathery skin, with the texture of hard rubber.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Turtles  The Leatherback sea turtle is the largest reptile currently on the earth by weight, regularly weighing more than 2000 lbs. They are distinguished from other species of turtles by their relatively soft shell or carapace that has seven longitudinal ridges.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Turtle   Shaped for speed and built for strength, the Leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, is a swift behemoth. It is a species of superlatives. Attaining an average length of eight-and-a-half feet and a weight in excess of 2000 pounds, the Leatherback is by far the largest of the ocean-going turtles and indeed is the largest of all living reptiles.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) The Leatherback Turtle  The leatherback turtle, is the world’s largest living reptile and the rarest of all marine turtles. It is found off Canada’s east and west coasts. With a shell as long as 2.5 m (8 ft.) and a weight of up to 900 kg (2000 lb.), the leatherback is not much smaller than its prehistoric ancestors.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Turtle  The leatherback sea turtle is the largest of living turtles. It may reach a length of about 7 feet. They have a span of 2.7 meters from the tip of one front flipper to the tip of the other. They have a secondary palate, formed by vomer and palatine bones. The leatherback has no visible shell. The shell is present but it consists of bones that are buried into its dark brown or black skin. It has seven pronounced ridges in its back and five on the underside.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatheback Turtles: Factsheet   Habitat: All warm oceans leatherback turtles are found as far north as Alaska
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Turtles  The leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest reptile in the world. It is much larger than other sea turtles. Leatherbacks can attain a curved carapace length (the length of the turtle's shell from where it begins at the base of the turtle's neck, along the curved top of the shell, ending at its tip) of two metres and regularly weigh 1000 pounds.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Turtles  (Dermochelys coriacea) Dermochelys, loosely translated, means "skin-covered turtle;" coriacea means leather-like, hence the common name of the leatherback turtle. It is the largest of all the turtles, the leatherback, can weigh more than 900 kilograms (almost 2,000 pounds) and reach a length of more than 2.5 meters (8 feet)
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)   The leatherback is the largest living turtle and is so distinctive that it is placed in its own separate family, Dermochelys. All other sea turtles have bony hard plates on their shells (carapace). The leatherback's carapace is slightly flexible and has a rubbery texture. No sharp angle is formed between the carapace and the under-belly (plastron) so a leatherback is somewhat barrel-shaped. Many can grow to a bigger than one too.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Turtle Watch  The leatherback turtle is the largest living turtle in the world. The average adult weighs 500 to 1600 pounds.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Leatherback Turtles on Verge of Extinction  "The leatherback has outlasted dinosaurs, has outlasted all sorts of catastrophes," said Pamela Plotkin, a conservation scientist at the Center for Marine Conservation in Washington, D.C., and co-author of the research. "Now, at the hands of man, it is right on the brink of extinction."
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Love and Death on Turtle Beach   Leatherback sea turtles around the world.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Mysteries of the Deep: Leatherbacks The leatherback turtle is the world’s largest reptile, and one of it’s most mysterious.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Nature Canada Notebook: Leatherback Turtles  The largest living turtle, the leatherback can reach a total length of 2.1 m with a weight of 365 kg. Unlike other turtles, the leatherback has no visible shell; instead, it has a carapace made up of hundreds of irregular bony plates, covered with a leathery skin. This rare sea turtle lives in warm sea waters and is known to breed off the West Indies, Florida, the northeastern coasts of South America, Senegal, Natal, Madagascar, Ceylon, and Malaya.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Ocean Animals: Leatherback Sea Turtle  The world's largest turtle, the leatherback has an average weight of 360 kg (800 lb) and a maximum of 590 kg (1,300 lb). Its foreflippers are extremely long, with a span of about 2.7 m (9 ft).
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Oceanic Resources Foundation: Leatherback Turtles  The leatherback turtle was listed as endangered throughout its range on June 2, 1970. Nesting populations of leatherback sea turtles are especially difficult to discern because the females frequently change beaches. However, current estimates are that 20,000-30,000 female leatherbacks exist worldwide.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Species Under Threat: Leatherback Turtles  Population estimates for sea turtles can be based only on an estimate of the total number of mature nesting females. These animals, or rather their nests or nesting tracks, can be counted more readily than other classes (although still with considerable difficulty), whereas males do not leave the water and are rarely identified at sea and are thus impossible to count.

 

Loggerhead   Caretta caretta

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The loggerhead is the most common sea turtle in Florida.
Named for its large head
Powerful jaws crush mollusks, crabs and encrusting animals attached to reefs and rocks
An estimated 14,000 females nest in the southeastern U.S, each year
A large turtle: adults weigh 200 to 350 pounds and measure about 3 feet in length
Hatchlings: 2 inches long
Nest in Florida from late April to September
Survival in Florida threatened by drowning in shrimp trawls and habitat loss

Lives in the deep sea, but nests and hibernates in local estuaries and beaches

Named for the bark-like shields that plae their long heads
Can weigh as much as 350 ponds
Loggerhead turtles use their sharp beaks to crunch open the shells of whelks, horseshoe crabs, and blue crabs
Loggerhead turtles' flippers help them glide through the water at 25 mph, but on land they move barely faster than a snail
Loggerheads have lived as long as 100 years
Loggerhead turtles come ashore to nest from May to August
They lay 80-150 egss at a time
It takes two months for hatchlings to be born
Ghost crabs, raccoons, fish and even the westher kill 99.99% of young turtles

 

 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Logggerhead Fact Sheet
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Atlantic Loggerhead  Information from the University of Michigan.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Atlantic Loggerhead Turtle The Atlantic loggerhead turtle is found in the waters off Canada's eastern coast. Individuals may attain a shell length of almost 3 m and weigh up to 454 kg although a weight of about 136 kg is more usual. In the open sea, these turtles spend much of their time floating on the surface of the water. They feed upon sponges, jellyfish, mussels, clams, oysters, shrimp, and a variety of fish.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Atlantic Loggerhead Sea Turtle Atlantic Ocean: Found from Argentina to Nova Scotia. The highest populations in North America are found on barrier islands from North Carolina to the Florida Keys. These Florida loggerheads migrate to the Bahamas in the winter. Small populations of the Atlantic loggerhead are also found on barrier islands off of the Texas coast.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) The Loggerhead Turtle The Loggerhead turtle, so named because of its unusually large head, plies the temperate and tropical waters of the Bahamas, Cuba, The Dominican Republic and the east coast of the U.S. as far north as NJ and south through the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Loggerhead Turtles The common name is derived from the massive, block-like head and broad, short neck of the animal. It is the only turtle in the genus Caretta and is listed as a threatened species in the United States; international trade is completely banned and the turtle is considered to be vulnerable worldwide.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Loggerhead Turtles Loggerhead nesting takes place in late spring and peaks during the summer months. Each night during the months of May through August, females pull their large bodies up onto coastal beaches to deposit clutches of eggs. A single female can deposit up to twelve nests in a single season. Each nest contains an average of 120 ping-pong shaped eggs that incubate 50 -60 days before emerging.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) The Loggerhead Sea Turtle-Monster or Gem Sea turtles, like the loggerhead, are reptiles and as such are related to land turtles, lizards, and snakes. Modified to live in the ocean, loggerheads have adapted powerful flippers instead of legs and a fused, aerodynamic body and shell which enables them to move quickly and elegantly though the sea.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Loggerhead Sea Turtle Fact Sheet The loggerhead sea turtle is perhaps the most common of the sea turtles and the only one that still regularly nests on the U.S. Atlantic Coast, on beaches from New Jersey to Texas. This reddish-brown turtle averages 3 feet (.9 m) in length and weighs 300 pounds (136 kg).  
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Loggerhead Sea Turtles A large turtle with a long, slightly tapering carapace, the loggerhead has a wide chunky head housing powerful jaws. It can crush even hard-shelled prey and feeds on crabs and mollusks as well as on sponges, jellyfish and aquatic plants.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Loggerhead Sea Turtle The flesh of the loggerhead is not as esteemed for eating as with other sea turtles. Therefore, hunting has not been as great a factor in the decline of loggerheads as it has been with other species.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Loggerhead Turtles   The loggerhead turtle (Latin or "scientific" name Caretta caretta) is one of only seven species of marine or sea turtles in existence today.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Nesting Map: Loggerhead Turtle
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Species Under Threat: Loggerhead Turtles  Threatened mainly by incidental capture in trawls, loss of habitat due to coastal development, and local exploitation. With regards to coastal development, artificial lights appear to cause disorientation of nesting females and hatchlings.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) White Loggerhead Sea Turtle   A white loggerhead turtle is now on display at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The rare turtle was found in its nest on Bald Head Island during the late summer of 1997.

 

Olive Ridley  Lepidochelys olivacae

OliveRidley.GIF - 7123 Bytes
 Note02.gif (247 bytes) Olive Ridley Fact Sheet
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Ocean Animals: Olive Ridley Sea Turtle The olive ridley is small and lightly built for a sea turtle. It feeds on small shrimp, jellyfish, crabs, snails and fish, which it crushes with strong jaws. Like its close relative Kemp's ridley, the olive ridley breeds every year and always returns to the same nesting beaches.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Olive Ridley   Information from the University of Michigan.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Olive Ridley Nesting Area
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Olive Ridley Turtle  The Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) is the smallest of the sea turtles usually less than 100 pounds and named for the olive color of its heart-shaped shell
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Olive Ridley Sea Turtle  The Olive Ridley Turtle has a large range within the tropical and subtropical regions in the Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as the Southern Atlantic Ocean. They generally tend to stay within the latitudes of 40 North and 40 South. Around North America it can be found in the waters of the Caribbean Sea and along the Gulf of California.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Eggs  Once the female has excavated a nest as deep as her hind flippers can reach, she begins to lay her eggs. She will deposit between 60 and 80 in the clutch (larger, older females may lay even more). They will hatch in roughly 45 days, usually at night, and the babies will scramble for the comparative safety of the sea.
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Species Under Threat: Olive Ridley Turtle  The species appears to forage mainly in tropical shallow waters, overlying the continental shelf (further offshore than the Loggerhead Caretta caretta), where individuals may dive deeply to feed on benthic crustaceans


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