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What is a Sea Turtle?

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In the United Kingdom aquatic fresh-water turtles are known as terrapins. There are 260 species of turtles, but only seven species of sea turtles.

Reptiles:

Sea turtles are reptiles. Reptiles have scales and a backbone. They are cold-blooded and they breathe with lungs. Reptiles include:

  • Alligators and crocodiles
  • Tortoises, turtles, and sea turtles
  • Tuataras
  • Lizards and snakes

Anatomy:

Sea turtles have flat, streamlined shells. The leatherback sea turtle has a tough, leathery skin instead of a shell. Sea turtles can see, hear and smell. They do not have teeth, but have strong jaws and a hooked beak.

Diet:

Sea turtles eat different sea animals and sea plants. Different species have different diets. Leatherbacks hunt jellyfish in deep waters. Green sea turtles are mainly herbivores or plant eaters.

Reproduction:

Every two to three years, sea turtles return to the beach where they were born. They dig an egg chamber in a moist spot on the beach and lays the eggs in the nest. She will lay a clutch of 80 to 120 eggs about the size of a golf ball. She covers the nest with sand. She messes up the sand around the nest and covers her tracks, then returns to the sea. The eggs hatch after about 60 days. The hatchlings head for the sea. Most don't make it to the sea. Only 1 out of 1,000 will make it to adulhood.

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