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A Look at a Sea

Turtles Life

Margaret Semaan
Third Hour
Mrs. Tempio

Sea turtles that can be found today have been around for 110 million years. Theyve been on
Earth since time of the dinosaurs (Sea Turtles 1). There are seven different sea turtles in the world that all
make an amazing journey growing up. Consequentially, there are several dangers in the world that can
harm and or kill sea turtles and their hatchlings.
The scientific name for a Leatherback sea turtle is Dermochelys coriacea. An adult Leatherback
can grow to be four to eight feet long. Their weight can range from 450 to 1,300 pounds. A Leatherbacks
shell, or carapace can be a dark gray or black in color, with white or pale spots, and whitish to black
plastron. They can travel through the open ocean as far north as Alaska to the southern tip of Africa. Their
nesting season happens every two to three years. They make six to nine during that time. They can lay an
average of 90 eggs per nest they make. As an adult, a Leatherback mainly eats jellyfish. In the United
States they are on the endangered species list (Lockwood 9).
The Olive Ridleys scientific name is Lepidochelys olivacea. An adult Olive Ridley can grow to
be twenty-four to twenty-eight inches long and their weight can range between seventy-seven to onehundred pounds. Their carapace looks like a dark gray-green color. They travel through the tropical
waters of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. Olive Ridleys nesting season occurs every two years.
They lay up to two nests for every season. The Olive Ridley lays an average of more than 105 eggs per
nest lain. Their diet consists of fish, crabs, clams, mussels, and shrimp. In the United States, the Olive
Ridley is on the Threatened list, but they are considered to be endangered in Mexico (Lockwood 14).
Scientists call the Australian Flatback Natator depressa. An Australian Flatback can reach up to
thirty-nine inches as an adult. They can weigh about 198 pounds. The Australian Flatback carapace color
is an olive-gray with brown or yellow on the edges, with white flippers. They can be found traveling
through the coastal waters of northern Australia and the Gulf of Papua New Guinea. The Australian
Flatback lays four nests per breeding season. They can lay around fifty eggs per nest. They like to eat sea
cucumbers, jellyfish, mollusks, and shrimp (Lockwood 17).

The scientific name for a Kemps Ridley sea turtle is Lepidochelys kempi. They can grow up to
twenty-four to twenty-eight inches as an adult and weight between seventy-seven to one-hundred pounds.
They have a carapace, or shell that is dark gray-green in color, with a white or yellowish plastron. The
Kemps Ridley can be found living in the Gulf of Mexico. They can occasionally be seen traveling north
to New England and east to Great Britain and Europe. During nesting season, which is yearly, they tend to
lay two nests per season. Kemp Ridley sea turtles can lay an average of 110 eggs per nest. Their diet
consists of crabs, clams, mussels, shrimp, fish, sea urchins, and jellyfish. In the United States Kemp
Ridley sea turtles are considered to be critically endangered (Lockwood 18).
Scientists call Loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta. They can grow to be thirty to forty-two
inches as adults and weigh up to 350 pounds. Their carapace is a reddish-brown in color, with a yellowish
plastron. Loggerheads can be found in temperate and tropical waters worldwide. They have a nesting
season every two or more years. Plus the can lay between four to seven nests per season. Loggerheads lay
an average between one-hundred to 126 eggs per nest. They like to eat horseshoe crabs, clams, mussels,
and invertebrates. The United States has the Loggerhead species on the threatened list (Lockwood 23).
Many people just call Green sea turtles, Green sea turtles, but to scientists they are called
Chelonia mydas. As adults Green sea turtles can grow to be more than three feet long and weigh 300 to
350 pounds. Their carapace can be a light to dark green with a white or yellow plastron. Just like the
Loggerhead sea turtle, Green turtles can also be found in temperate and tropical waters worldwide. Their
nesting season is every two or more years. They lay between three to five nests and they lay 115 eggs per
nest. When a Green sea turtle is about then inches long they eat worms, insects, grasses, and crustaceans,
but when they are longer than ten inches they eat grasses and algae (Lockwood 26).
A Hawksbill sea turtle is known as Eretmochelys imbricate to scientists. They can grow between
thirty to thirty-six inches long and weigh one-hundred to 150. Their carapaces are orange, brown, or
yellow in color. They can be seen swimming in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. They have

their nesting seasons every two or more years and they can lie between two to four nests per season.
Hawksbills lay 160 eggs per nest. They like to eat sponges, anemones, squid and shrimp. In the United
States they are considered to be endangered.
There are many predators out there that hunt sea turtle eggs and hatchlings such as, raccoons,
birds, insects, crabs, foxes, and canines. Sea turtle hatchlings that do make it to the ocean water are still
easy prey for fish and sea birds. As sea turtles grow to their adult size and swim further from shore, they
become much safer from predators. There are people out there that hunt sea turtles to eat theyre eggs and
meat, and many sea turtles die after getting caught in huge commercial fishing nets. When oil rigs leak oil
into the ocean and humans dump their trash into oceans it causes health problems for sea turtles. Building
things on the beach can cause harm to sea turtles nesting sites. Even though the sea turtle species are
protected by international convention, people are still hunting and killing sea turtles (Sea Turtles 2). All
in all, only one in 1,000 to 10,000 sea turtles will live to adulthood (Broward County Sea Turtle
Conservation Program 1).
A sea turtle gender is determined by the temperature of the sand they are lain in. The sands on
Costa Ricas Tortuguero beach is warm, so many of the sea turtle hatchlings are going to be female. The
baby sea turtles use their flippers to carry them through the sand and closer to the surface. It can take a
baby sea turtle longer than twenty-four hours to reach the surface of the sand. All baby sea turtles are
drawn to the ocean, where they live most of their lives. A sea turtles journey to the ocean is a race for
survival (Miller 1).
Scientists believe that the Green sea turtles babies float with mats of sargassum. Sargassum
seaweed provides hiding places as well as food for green sea turtles hatchlings. They might snack on
shrimps, snails, and jellyfish that drift in and around the seaweed. After a certain number of years pass,
baby sea turtles become known as juveniles. They may gable up a jellyfish or two, but they eat mainly sea
grasses and algae. Soon sea turtles move to feeding grounds that are further away from shore, where they

grow up to be adults. When night falls sea turtles tend to rest under rocks and ledges in the ocean waters
(Miller 2). Green sea turtles can hold their breath for as long as five hours (Miler 2-3).
Green sea turtles get their name because when they eat sea grasses and algae theyre body fat
turns a green color. When Green sea turtles are close to the age of twenty-six, they have a shell that is a
meter long in length. The female sea turtles have to go back to the beach where they were born to lay their
eggs. Once there, she looks for a mate. After a few weeks, the female turtles crawl onto the beach. Then
they find a place where high tide wont wash her eggs away. The turtle then lies over one-hundred white
leathery eggs, and then they pack sand down on top of them. After two weeks have passed, the sea turtle
will end up laying another nest of eggs, and then two weeks after another. After the Green sea turtles lay
in the nest their mother made for two months, they will start to hatch (Miler 2-3).
Sea turtles are protected through Florida Status, Chapter 370, and by the United States
Endangered Species Act of 1973. Briefly, these laws state that No person may harm, kill, trap, take,
shoot, pursue, harass, wound, capture, or attempt to engage in any such conduct to turtle eggs, turtle nests,
and or Marine turtles. Anyone who knowingly violates any provision of the act may be assessed with
civil penalties up to $25,000, or with criminal penalties up to $100,000 and up to one year of
imprisonment (Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program 1).
All sea turtles, no matter what species, make a long and hard journey growing up. There are many
dangers in the world that could kill and or harm adult sea turtles and their hatchlings. It would have been
nice to find information about male sea turtles but it is difficult to gather information on male sea turtles
because they dont return to land after they hatch. Scientists know very little anything about their