When it comes to scuba divers, turtles are one of our favorite creatures in the sea, (does turtle sign). So its only natural that we want to celebrate World Turtle Day every year. Right? But why is this so important?
With an estimation of around 1 in 1,000 marine turtle hatchlings making it to adulthood, plastic pollution in their natural habitat, and human-made threats, turtles are in desperate need of our help.
When is World Turtle Day? World Turtle Day falls on 23rd May every year and is celebrated around the globe. Celebrations are thrown in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing something green. People also spend this date researching activities to remind people about these special creatures. It’s a great way of learning and educating others about them and how to protect their future.
There are seven species of sea turtle in our oceans – the flatback, hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley, loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, and the green turtle – and at least six of these species are at risk of extinction.
So how can you help this World Turtle Day?
11 Fascinating Facts About Turtles
Turtles are survivors and many people can resonate with a wide range of other qualities that turtles possess. This is probably the reason why bracelets, sea turtle totem necklace, and Feng Shui turtle are some of the best gifts for turtle lovers!
There are so many things you can do to make this day special, including adopting a turtle, raising awareness about the threats they face, or simply by educating yourself and others about them.
One of the best ways of doing this is by sharing something turtle related and educating others about how amazing these reptiles are. That’s why we have put together some interesting facts about turtles to share with you!
1. Turtles are the oldest reptiles
Have you guys thought about how long these creatures have been living on our planet? Well, scientists have dated them back to the times of dinosaurs i.e. over 200 million years ago. This makes them the oldest in the reptile group leaving behind snakes, crocodiles, and alligators in the world.
2. They all have one thing in common
When we talk about turtles there are about 300 species of turtles that have different characteristics and features, but they all have one thing in common which is they come on land to lay their eggs.
3. It’s very rare that turtles lay their eggs in the water
Let’s talk about the different species of turtles. The leatherback turtles which is the most migratory turtle will travel thousands of miles by crossing just to lay their eggs on the beach they were born on. River turtles will come on the shore of the river where they live and eat to lay their eggs.
On the other hand, some turtles lay eggs in moist soils of forests or marshlands like the box turtles that live only on land. However, it is very rare that turtles lay their eggs in the water when they have no other option they use this as their last resort.
4. Turtles are omnivores
Many of us would be thinking that turtles would be herbivores, but we are wrong. They fall in the category of omnivores as a few species of turtles eat grass, fruits, and beetles on land.
Whereas a few species which are sea dwellers eat algae, squids, and jellyfish. Most of the turtles eat meat when they are born but later become herbivorous as they mature with age.
5. Turtle shells are made of their own rib cage and spine
This is a commonly known fact that the shell over turtle’s body is made of its own rib cage and spine which consists of 50 bones. This makes the shell a hard and strong protective cover for the turtle. This shell comes along with them from birth hence it can’t outgrow its size.
6. They are sensitive to Earth’s magnetic field
We told you that leatherback turtles lay their eggs on the beach they themselves were born on. But how do they remember that? One of the more fascinating facts about these turtles is that they are sensitive to Earth’s magnetic field, which acts as a world map for them.
As we all know that in a magnetic field. Turtles have the in-built ability to detect these fields and determine where they are exactly. It’s not wrong to say that turtles are stronger than a compass when it comes to directions.
7. Turtles can live up to almost 150 years old
Many of us have the curiosity about knowing how long do the turtles live or what’s their life span? Turtles are among those creatures that have a very long life span. Recently people have heard about the turtle that lived for 188 years. The turtle named Tu”i Malila of Tonga island is recorded as the oldest age ever amongst the turtle species.
When a turtle is kept in wild its life span increases to 100-120 years whereas if the turtle is kept in captive its lifespan shortens to 10-80 years. If we see wild sea turtles they take a really long time to grow up!
For them, it may easily take 50 years to reach reproductive maturity. They can survive for almost 150 years. However, for scientists, it’s difficult to determine the age of the turtle, so it’s possible that some of the sea turtles are 400-500 years old.
8. Turtles can cry
We, humans, cry when we feel sad or upset. But when these creatures cry, it’s for a completely different reason. Sea turtles can drink salt water without any problem, unlike humans.
They are gifted by nature with a special organ that can get rid of the excess salt and then excrete it out from their eyes. This system helps them while laying eggs also because the water that comes out from their glands helps them protect their eyes from sand.
9. Turtles can survive in pretty much any condition
Since all the turtles have this environment adaptive feature in them, they can survive in pretty much any condition. And because of this, a few sea turtles can end up in the European Arctic as well.
But what’s shocking is that you won’t find any turtle, tortoise or terrapins in the Antarctica region.
10. They are actually pretty quick swimmers
We’ve all heard of the rabbit and turtle story which teaches us that slow and steady wins the race. Well, when you race a turtle against the swimming legend Michel Phelps, the turtle is going to win! Generally, turtles are seen bobbing around in the water, if they have to make a swim, they are likely to getaway.
The leatherback turtle is known for its swimming speed – it can speed up to 22 miles per hour! Whereas Michel Phelps speed has been capped at 6 miles per hour. Fascinating, right? When the turtles are underwater they don’t swim that fast unless they are threatened.
11. Sex can be identified when fertilization takes place
In humans and other animals, sex can be identified almost as soon as the fertilization takes place. But in the case of turtles, sex can be determined on the basis of the temperature of the eggs when they are developing.
This is known as temperature-dependent sex determination. If the temperature is below 81.86 degrees Fahrenheit during incubation of the egg, they will hatch as male and if they are incubated below that temperature they will hatch as female.