• Purple, yellow, gold and orange sponges and soft corals wave against a turquioise sea.

    Biscayne

    National Park Florida

Sea Turtles: Basic Biology & Background

This Kemps Ridley sea turtle begins digging in the sand to create a cavity in which she will lay her eggs

A Kemps Ridley sea turtle nests on the beach

NPS

Quick Facts about Sea Turtles

1. Sea turtles have been around for hundreds of millions of years. In contrast, humans have been around only for hundreds of thousands of years.

2. Sea turtles have adaptations suited for survival in marine environments. Sea turtles spend almost all of their lives in the ocean, except when females go ashore to lay eggs.

3. Females return to the beach from where they hatched to lay their own eggs.

4. Turtles can easily reach 100 years of age if they are able to avoid threats such as predation, disease, being harvested (illegal in most countries!) and collisions with boats.

5. There are 7 species of sea turtles worldwide: green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacia), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii), Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) and Flatback (Natator depressa), which only occurs in Northern Australia.

6. Loggerhead, Green, and Hawksbill turtles are all commonly observed in Biscayne National Park waters. Leatherback turtles may also be observed, but this species is uncommon in the park.

7. 90% of US loggerhead turtles, and 100% of US green turtles nest in Florida.

8. The six species of sea turtles whose distributions include US waters are listed as "threatened" or "endangered" under the US Fish and Wildlife Services' Endangered Species Program.

Click here to return to the Sea Turtle Main Page, or click on one of the links below to learn more about sea turtles:

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