Sea Turtles

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Leatherback Sea Turtle

It is the largest, growing to over six feet in length and weighing as much as 2,000 lbs. It is also the deepest diving sea turtle and can dive to depths greater than 3,000 ft. They feed primarily on jellyfish and other ocean drifters, eating as much as 1,000 lbs each day. The leatherback’s carapace (shell) is a single piece with five distinct ridges and a rubbery feel. Image Courtesy: www.lh5.ggpht.com

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Leatherback Sea Turtle
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Hawksbill Sea Turtle

It is critically endangered and relies on sensitive coral reef habitats. They have a slender body and head, and a narrow beak that resembles that of a hawk and is designed for foraging in coral. Its shell, thought to be the most beautiful of the sea turtles, is reddish or dark brown. Hawkbill turtles are found throughout the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They grow to just over three feet in length and can weigh up to 150 lbs. Image Courtesy: www.seaturtlenet.com

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Hawksbill Sea Turtle
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Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Their populations are declining across its range. They have long flippers and special glands that help it to drink salt water. While the loggerhead is a relatively slow swimmer, it can show amazing bursts of speed when it feels threatened. The natural threats to this sea turtle are sharks and orcas. Loggerheads live in coastal bays, estuaries, lagoons, and open oceans in warm and temperate waters. Image Courtesy: www.2.bp.blogspot.com

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Loggerhead Sea Turtle
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Green Sea Turtle

It is most endangered of all sea turtle species. Adult green turtles have a carapace varying in color from black to gray to greenish or brown, often with bold streaks or spots, and a yellowish white plastron. Each sea turtle has distinctive individual facial markings, similar to fingerprints. They have an average weight of 300 lbs and grow to a length of three feet. They are the most widespread species of sea turtle, residing near 139 countries in the tropics and subtropics. Image Courtesy: www.cornforthimages.com

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Green Sea Turtle
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Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

Though endangered, olive ridley turtle are thought to be the most abundant of all the sea turtles. Olive ridleys live primarily in the northern hemisphere, principally in the eastern Pacific and Indian oceans. They migrate thousands of miles in the course of a year, between nesting and feeding grounds. Adults travel and rest mostly in surface waters, but have been observed diving and feeding in waters 550 ft (about 200 m) deep. Image Courtesy: www.1.bp.blogspot.com

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Olive Ridley Sea Turtle
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Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

They are the smallest of the sea turtles, growing to two feet and weighing approximately 90 lbs. The shell ranges in color from an olive to gray-green and is oval or heart shaped. Kemp’s ridleys live in shallow coastal areas, bays, and lagoons. The Kemp’s ridley is the only sea turtle that consistently nests during the day. Image Courtesy: www.seaturtlenet.com

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Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
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Flatback Sea Turtle

They nest only in northern Australia. This species of sea turtle gets its name from its flat shell. The flatback distinguishes itself by laying eggs nearly as large as the mighty leatherback, producing the biggest, fastest and strongest diving hatchlings of all. Each turtle lays 3 to 5 or more clutches of about 50 eggs each season. The flatback hatchling are beautiful with dark outlining on its shell and piercing blue eyes. Image Courtesy: www.allturtles.com

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Flatback Sea Turtle
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Major threats

Major threats of sea turtles that have brought them to the edge of extinction are large scale poaching of adult turtles for meat, shells and leather. Commercial exploitation of sea turtle eggs. Drowning of sea turtles in fishing nets. Development and destruction of their nesting beaches and pollution of the oceans.

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Major threats
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