Turtle Facts


  • The seven living species of sea turtles are: flatback sea turtle, green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle and olive ridley sea turtle.
  • All species except the leatherback are in the family Cheloniidae. The leatherback belongs to the family Dermochelyidae and is its only member
  • The leatherback is the only sea turtle that does not have a hard shell; instead, it bears a mosaic of bony plates beneath its leathery skin. It is the largest sea turtle, measuring up to 2.1 m in length at maturity, and up to 1.5 m in width, weighing up to 590 kg.
  • At the other end of the scale, olive ridley turtles grow to a length of 1 metre, but weigh in at a humble 45 kilos.
  • The estimated lifespan of sea turtles range from 60-80 years.
  • All turtles are omnivores, meaning they eat what they can. Favourite staples include sea grass and jellyfish.
  • Sea grass depletion can be attributed to the declining number of sea turtles
  • Baby turtles take 6-8 weeks to hatch and the sex is determined by the temperature of the nest. Warmer sand means more females and cooler sand means boys.
  • Only 1 in a 1000 turtles survives to maturity.
  • Baby turtles spend 20-30 years riding the ocean currents before returning to their birthplace to nest. Where they go is still a mystery.
  • The top side of a turtle’s shell is called the carapace. It’s made up of 60 different bones and plates that give the shell incredible strength and protection.
  • Turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Since they lack mammalian reflexes, feeding on plastic will block up the airway system and cause a slow and painful death.