Loggerhead turtles get their name from their thick neck that resembles a log. Leatherback turtles are named for their soft, leathery shell. Green sea turtles get their name from their greenish skin and body fat. It develops because as adults, they feed entirely on vegetation! Flatback turtles are named for their low-domed, flat shell that turns up at the edge.

Air breathing fish?

Marine turtles are ocean reptiles. Like other reptiles they have scales, breathe air, lay eggs and can’t control their body temperature!

Four hour free-divers

Sea turtles can spend up to 4 hours underwater, depending on the species and activity level, before coming up to the surface to breathe.

7 of a kind

There are 7 species of sea turtles found worldwide; the leatherback, loggerhead, green, hawksbill, flatback, olive ridley and Kemp’s ridley. Sea turtles range in length from 65cm to 2m, with the Kemp’s ridley being the smallest and the leatherback being the largest. The leatherback has a soft shell, while the other 6 have a hard shell. It can take turtles between 30 and 50 years to mature. They can live to be over 100 years old!

Crush and squeeze

Turtles are the only group of reptiles that don’t have teeth! They have crushing plates in their beak-like mouth that are made of keratin, like our nails and hair. These are used to grind fish, shrimp, crabs, jellyfish and vegetation. Some turtles have spikes in their throat, which help to grip and squeeze out the excess seawater from from their jellyfish prey.

Warmer waters

Marine turtles are found in coral reefs, bays and estuaries in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. In Western Australia the Ningaloo coast is a sanctuary for turtles and provides safe nesting grounds.