Loggerhead turtles are the most popularly known sea turtles. They are called “Loggerhead” due to their large sized head in relation to the rest of their body. They grow to 170 -350 lbs and are found in the greatest concentrations along the Gulf of Mexico and the Southeastern coast of the U.S.Loggerheads feed on crustaceans and other marine animals by crushing them with their large jaws.
Green sea turtles have a wide range with major concentrations in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific oceans based in tropical to sub-tropical waters. Mostly herbivorous the green sea turtle feeds mainly on sea grass.Their average weight in 440 lbs and they can live to be 80 years old.
Leatherbacks are the largest of all sea turtles and can grow up to 1500 lbs with flippers 9 feet long.They have the widest distribution among all sea turtles ranging from Alaska and Norway to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.Adult leatherbacks eat mostly jellyfish.
Kemps Ridley is the rarest sea turtle and also the smallest sea turtle species averaging 100 lbs maximum.They feed mainly on crustaceans, jellyfish & seaweed.They range from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and all females return to a single beach to nest: Ranch Nuevo, Mexico.
Hawksbill turtles have a distinct beak-like mouth and average 175 lbs.They primarily eat sponges and although has a wide range it is primarily found in tropical coral reefs.
A major reason why marine turtles throughout the world are in danger is the continuing loss of nesting habitat. It is believed that marine turtles have an extremely high affinity for their nesting beaches, and therefore the loss or reduction of even a single nesting beach can have serious effects. Artificial Lighting from buildings or streetlights disorients hatchling turtles who find their way to the water by the light reflected off the ocean. It also can confuse adult turtles after laying eggs by heading inland towards the light.
Increased Human Presence on nesting beaches discourages female turtles to return to nesting sites that have been used for years. Beach Armoring is the building of sea walls or jetties to protect buildings and property from erosion. This results in environmental damage of a nesting beach. Beach Nourishment is when sand is added to a beach to counter the effects of erosion. This buries the turtles nests or makes it difficult for them to dig new nests as the added sand is compacted.Beach Erosionleads to the loss of nesting habitat. Beach Cleaning by raking sand disturbs existing nests.
Predators such as birds, small mammals and other life steal the eggs from the nests to eat.
Ingestion of Marine Debris garbage in the ocean such as plastic gets caught in sea grasses where turtles eat. If they ingest plastic it is not only toxic but also obstructs the digestive system.
Commercial Fisheries use nets that snare turtles and keep them underwater for too long a period of time without air.
Oil and Gas Exploration activities such as dredging or offshore structures destroys the nesting habitat. Oil spills affect turtle respiration and tar pellet debris are ingested.
Save the Sea Turtle<br />Students will be able to list three types of sea turtles.<br />Students will be able to distinguish between nesting threats and marine environment threats.<br />Students will be able to differentiate between different types of sea turtles.<br />
Indicate which is a nesting threat and which is a marine environment threat:<br />______ Commercial Fisheries<br />______ Beach Armoring<br />______ Predators<br />______ Artificial Lighting<br />______ Oil & Gas Exploration<br />
Which sea turtle is the largest?<br />___________________________<br />4. Which sea turtle is the smallest?<br />___________________________<br />5. Which sea turtle is an herbivore?<br />___________________________<br />6. Which sea turtle eats sponges?<br />___________________________<br />