Fantastic Facts about Sea Turtles!

Koh Tao is Thai for ‘Turtle Island’, so we cant be here for too long without providing you with some fun facts about these wise old sea creatures. Sea Turtles, along with Sharks, are one of the most ancient species on Earth, and the seven species we have in our oceans today are the same that were around 110 million years ago when dinosaurs still walked the land.

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  • The sex of a turtle is determined by the temparature of the egg’s surroundings; if the temparature is low it will be hatched a male, if the temparature is high it will be hatched a female.
  • Only about 1 in 1000 baby sea turtles make it to Adulthood with most falling victim to predators such as crabs and seabirds.
  • Only female turtles ever touch land during their lifetime, and even then only to lay eggs. Because males never venture onto land it is extremely difficult to keep data on numbers of male sea turtles.
  • Out of the seven species of sea turtles at least five of them are classed as endangered. This is mainly due to human activity resulting in habitat loss, the illigal poaching of turtle eggs, the ingestion of plastic and other marine debris, and fishing practices – turtles fall victim to by-catch as they get tangled up in nets from large  trawlers.

New Heaven Turtles

  • Many turtles die from ingesting plasic. Jellyfish are a key dietary requirement for many turtles because plastic bags floating around in the ocean look extremely similar to Jellyfish, they are often consumed in error.
Jellyfish
Jellyfish

 

  • Sea Turtles have a special gland which takes the salt out of the water so they can drink it and stayed hydrated.
  • Sea turtles need to go up to the surface for air every few hours or so depending on what activity they are doing.
  • They can dive down to at least 300m/1000 feet below the surface for food!
  • No sea turtle can tuck its head into its neck. only land turtles are able to do this.
  • Sea Turtles are colour blind.
  • The diagram below shows the habitat and migration area of all sea turtles. They generally stay in tropical waters but certain species have been sighted as far South as Chile and as far North as Alaska. They can – and will! – travel thousands of miles a year.


Sea Turtle Migration Range

 

Hawksbill Turtle
Hawksbill Turtle
  • Sea Turtles are generally lone travellers. When they do interact with one another where their habitat boundaries overlap slightly, they will live together in harmony provided there is enough food. When it is time to migrate they do tend to travel in groups but they never interact.
  • Sea Turtles tend to migrate back to the area they hatched.

 

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We are in no doubt that these creatures are incredible – from their long life span, their beauty, the way they move in the water, the distances they travel each year and the fact they have outlived dinosaurs. They’re pretty darn awesome huh?!?! With this in mind we need to take into account that human activity at the moment is destroying their natural habitat through coastal development, poaching and over-fishing. We need to act now to save these beautiful creatures so future generations will also have the opportunity to witness their greatness!

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