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Sea Turtle Facts

by Richard Arterbury

Sea turtles Facts and how long they have lived on Earth and in our Ocean for around 110 million years. Sea turtles eat large numbers of jellyfish, and are a important link to our marine ecosystems, our coral reefs and to seagrass beds. Sea turtles provide a large attraction to humans, local communities, and increases ecotourism. Sea turtles populations have been on the decline, due to thousands of marine turtles getting caught in fishing nets or consuming plastic ocean pollution. Ocean Blue Project has been working with local communities to lower egg harvesting through awareness of the importance to protect nesting beaches, and to encourage fishers to switch to equipment that doesn’t harm marine wildlife.

Here’s a look at some common questions about sea turtles.

How Many Sea Turtles Die Each Year From Plastic

Documented about 1,000 sea turtles die annually from digesting plastic. Researchers at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia found that a turtle had a 22 percent chance of dying from ingesting one plastic item. 

Once a turtle gobbles 14 pieces of plastic, the mortality rate jumps to 50 percent. Another report mentioned once an animal eats 200 pieces of plastic death is eminent, reports Matt McGrath at the BBC. The researchers estimate that 52 percent of sea turtles across the globe have some plastic in their guts, but plastic ingestion rates are different around the world. Researchers found 54 percent of post-hatchling turtles and 23 percent of juvenile turtles had plastic inside of them compared to 16 percent of adult turtles.

“Young small turtles actually drift and float with the ocean currents as does much of the buoyant, small lightweight plastic,” lead author Britta Denise Hardesty of CSIRO tells the BBC. “We think that small turtles are less selective in what they eat than large adults who eat sea grass and crustaceans, the young turtles are out in the oceanic area offshore and the older animals are feeding in closer to shore.”

The physiology of turtles also makes plastic lethal for them since the animals can’t regurgitate, meaning whatever they eat is on a one-way trip through their gut. Even one small piece of plastic that gets trapped in the wrong place can cause a blockage that leads to death. Read more about this study:

Why are sea turtles endangered

Sea turtles are suffering due to poachers and plastic pollution in our ocean. Many turtles are being tangled in old fishing nets, consuming plastic and caught by accident by fisherman. Protecting turtles from human activity could help save our turtles and despite the legal protection set in place to protect sea turtles in most countires, hunting turtles for meat still take place around the world. In the early 50’s and 60’s sea turtle poaching was legal in Florida until the EPA was established in 1970, and making sea turtles an endangered species.

Sea Turtle Habitat & What Do Sea Turtles Eat

Sea turtles species eat a specific diet and all turtles lack teeth. Loggerhead turtles eat mainly hard shelled organisms like fish, lobsters and crustaceans. Green turtles are vegetarian and would rather eat sea grasses.

Sea Turtles live in all five oceans or seven seas and their nesting sites are on tropical and subtropical beaches. They travel in open ocean waters traveling long distances, and almost migrating the entire ocean.

Sea Turtles Traveling in Open waters