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10 fascinating facts about sea turtles

Green turtle hatchling on the Great Barrier Reef
1. They’re really ancient

1. They’re really ancient

The oldest known sea turtle fossil is at least 120 million years old, making sea turtles some of the oldest creatures on the planet. That means they shared the planet with dinosaurs which became extinct around 65 million years ago.

Green Turtle

2. Have shell, will travel

Leatherback turtles travel 16,000 km or more to dine out on their favourite jellyfish.

Turtle laying at Raine Island

3. There’s no place like home

Female marine turtles return to the same nesting grounds where they were born when it’s time for them to lay their own eggs.

Green turtles at Raine Island

4. No scuba gear required

Green turtles can hold their breath underwater for as long as five hours. To do this, they slow their heart rate to up to nine minutes in between heart beats to conserve oxygen!

5. Heavy lifter

5. Heavy lifter

The leatherback turtle is the largest of all living turtles and can grow to weigh as much as 900 kg.

Green turtle hatchling on the Great Barrier Reef

6. Survival of the fittest

Turtle hatchlings are super cute but only around one in every thousand will survive to make it to adulthood.

Green turtle hatchlings at Raine Island

7. Gender bender

A hatchling’s gender depends on the temperature of the nest. Hotter temperatures produce more females while more males emerge from cooler temperatures.

8. Just keep swimming

8. Just keep swimming

Male sea turtles spend almost their whole life at sea because, unlike females, they don’t have to return to land to nest.

9. Turtle tears

9. Turtle tears

Turtles do cry, but not because they’re sad. They have glands that help to empty excess salt from their eyes, which makes it look like they’re crying.

Nesting season at Raine Island

10. Staying alive

They live to around 100 years, which is also roughly the number of eggs female sea turtles lay when they nest.