Sea turtles are reptile living primarily in the ocean. Related to land turtles, there are however six species of sea turtles that can be found. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of sea turtles still living among us.
Mainly found in Australia, the Flatback turtle owes its name to its flattened body. It is the only species of sea turtle that can’t be found in the United States. Flatback turtles live in coastal waters, where their habitat is shallow, murky and inshore. They are omnivore and their diet consist of invertebrates such as jellyfish, sea pens, sea cucumbers, crustaceans and mollusks, and seaweed. Flatback turtles prefer to live alone, and can live up to 100 years.
The Leatherback sea turtle is not only the largest of the sea turtle species, but also the last remaining member of the Dermochelyidae turtle family, which has existed for 100 to 150 million years. Leatherback turtles are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, where they stay in temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. Because of their size, they are also known for having a large appetite, and can travel hundreds of miles in search jellyfish, which is their main diet.
Distinguished by its heart-shaped shell and its narrow, pointed beak, the Hawksbill turtle resides in Tropical waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, predominantly in coral reefs. In fact, they are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds. Hawksbill turtles are one of the smallest species of turtle, and their colored and patterned shells make them very popular. They primarily consume sponges, jellyfish, mollusks, crustaceans and small fish.
Assuredly the most popular of the sea turtles, the Green turtle’s name is not linked to the colour of its shell but rather the colour of its skin underneath. As a matter of fact, Green sea turtles’ shell comes in a variety of colours, from brown to dark olive, gray to black, depending on their habitat. This species can be found in more than 80 countries around the world, but their largest nesting populations live in Costa Rica and Australia. Unlike most other sea turtles, adult Green turtles are herbivorous and prefer to eat sea grasses and algae.
Named and most notable for its large head, the Loggerhead turtle is a marine turtle commonly found in temperate and sub-tropical regions throughout the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Large populations of Loggerhead turtles live in the Bahamas and Mexico. Due to a very powerful jaw, these turtles can easily crush their prey or its hard shell, as they feed mostly on crabs, but also on mollusks and jellyfish.
Olive Ridley Turtle
The Olive Ridley turtle is the most common sea turtle in the world with likely more than a million adults. Named after their olive-colored shell, Olive Ridley turtles reside in tropical regions around the world, mostly in Pacific waters, near Mexico. They consume crustaceans and jellyfish, but will eat algae if there are no other options available.
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