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The Fascinating World of Sea Turtles:
A Comprehensive Guide

Sea turtles are some of the oldest and most fascinating creatures in the world. These marine reptiles have been around for over 100 million years, surviving the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other changes to the earth's environment. There are seven species of sea turtles, each with their own unique characteristics and adaptations to their environment. In this article, we will explore the world of sea turtles and learn more about their habitat, nesting behavior, migration patterns, predators, diet, and the efforts being made to conserve and protect them.

Image by Kris-Mikael Krister

Sea turtles are found in all of the world's oceans, except for the polar regions. They prefer warm waters and are most commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions. Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the water, but they also need to come ashore to lay their eggs. They typically nest on sandy beaches, and some species travel thousands of miles to return to the same beach where they were born.

Sea turtles have a unique nesting behavior that is critical to their survival. Females come ashore to lay their eggs, and they can lay hundreds of eggs at one time. The eggs are buried in the sand, and the sun's heat helps to incubate them. After a few months, the hatchlings emerge from the sand and make their way to the water. This is a dangerous time for the hatchlings, as they are vulnerable to predators and other threats.

Brave New World, a drawing a turtle hatchling swimming through seaweed, by David Dancey-Wood

Brave New World, By David Dancey-Wood

Sea turtles are known for their impressive migration patterns. They travel thousands of miles across the ocean, often returning to the same nesting beach where they were born. Scientists are still learning about the factors that influence sea turtle migration, but it is believed that they use a combination of the earth's magnetic field, ocean currents, and their own sense of smell to navigate.

Hatchling, a drawing of a turtle hatchling crossing the sand

Into The Great Wide Open, By David Dancey-Wood

Sea turtles face a variety of predators, both on land and in the water. On land, the eggs and hatchlings are vulnerable to predators such as birds, crabs, and mammals. In the water, sea turtles face threats from sharks, killer whales, and other predators. Humans also pose a significant threat to sea turtles, through activities such as fishing, pollution, and habitat destruction.

Sea turtles have a varied diet, depending on their species and location. Some turtles are herbivores, feeding on seagrass and algae, while others are carnivores and eat fish, jellyfish, and crustaceans. Leatherback turtles, the largest species of sea turtle, feed exclusively on jellyfish, and are known to travel long distances in search of their preferred food source.


Ocean Nomad, a drawing of an adult Green Turtle swimming with Sergeant fish, by David Dancey-Wood

Ocean Nomad, By David Dancey-Wood

All seven species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered, due to a variety of factors such as habitat loss, pollution, and hunting. Many organizations and governments are working to conserve and protect sea turtles, through efforts such as habitat restoration, research, and education. It is critical that we continue to work towards the protection of these incredible animals, before it is too late.

Out to Sea, a triptych drawing of turtle hatchlings walking up the beach

Out to Sea, By David Dancey-Wood

Sea turtles are fascinating creatures that play a vital role in our marine ecosystems. From their nesting behavior to their impressive migration patterns, there is still so much we have to learn about these ancient reptiles. It is our responsibility to work towards their conservation and protection, to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to experience the wonder of sea turtles in the wild.

Sea Turtle, Photo Copyright Daniel Torobekov 2023 on Pexels

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