Sea turtles live in most oceans around the world and nest on beaches in the tropics and subtropics. Some species migrate thousands of miles to find food, crossing entire oceans in the process.
They spend their entire lives at sea, except when adult females come ashore to lay eggs several times per season every 2 to 5 years. In roughly sixty days, turtle hatchlings emerge from the nests to head to the ocean. Juvenile sea turtles spend their first years in the open oceans and move closer to shore into bays, estuaries, reefs, mangroves, and coastal waters.
These reptiles have been around for more than 100 million years but now six out of seven turtle species are threatened or endangered (Learn more, here). Among the threats these marine creatures face are fishing gear entanglement, habitat loss, and poaching.
Leatherback Sea Turtles
Giant leatherbacks are among the world’s largest reptiles and by far the biggest sea turtle species. Adults can weigh between 500 and 2,000 lbs and measure from 4 – 8 feet long. They get to this enormous size by eating large amounts of jellyfish, which their body has evolved to consume.
Leatherbacks differ from other turtle species in many ways but most obviously with their shell, which is softer and more flexible without the scales typical of other turtles. Learn more about leatherbacks.