Turtleman Foundation
Saving One Turtle At A Time

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The Flatback The Flatback sea turtle, scientifically known as “Natator depressus,” did not have its own classification until the late 1980s.  It was originally thought to be a type of green sea turtle, but its distinct smooth, flat-domed body gave it its own identification.  The Flatback can reach 2½ to 3½ feet and weigh anywhere from 155-200 pounds.  Its lifespan is estimated to be around 80 years or more. Flatbacks are typically found in the subtropical and tropical waters of Australia and Indonesia, where there is a plethora of costal coral reefs and grassy shallows.  Due to their very small range in the Pacific and lack of human demand, they are the least endangered sea turtle and tend to experience less threats than other species, giving them a longer average life span.  Approximately 4 times per season, Flatback sea turtles come to shore on tropical and subtropical sandy beaches to nest.  Each female lays around 50 eggs per clutch; the Flatback lays the largest egg, weighing approximately 75 grams. Flatbacks are classified as omnivores, but prefer to eat meat.  They feed on prey found in shallow water, such as shrimp, jellyfish, mollusks, other small fish, coral, and sea cucumbers.
Hawksbill The Hawksbill sea turtle, scientifically known as “Eretmochelys Imbricate,” is one of the smallest species of turtles.  It can range anywhere from 2-4 feet long and weigh up to 100-150 pounds.  Their shells are known to be heart-shaped, but do tend to elongate as they age.  The average life span of the Hawksbill sea turtle is estimated to be 30-50 years in the wild.  Their population is critically endangered and is showing a decreasing trend. Hawksbill sea turtles are primarily found in the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.  They tend to remain near the sandy coast where the water is not too deep.  The female Hawksbill will travel a tremendous distance solely to find a tropical beach to nest.  This occurs every 2-3 years, with up to 200 eggs being hatched each nesting season. Hawksbill sea turtles are omnivores, eating primarily fish, jellyfish, mollusks, algae, sea urchins, and coral reef sponges.  Unlike other species of sea turtles, the Hawksbill has developed an immunity to the toxins of the coral reef sponges and therefore, experiences very little competition trying to obtain their primary source of food.  Their beak is similar to that of a bird, narrow and pointed, allowing it to reach into the small cracks within the coral reef and pull out organisms that may be wedged far beneath the surface.
The Kemp’s Ridley Similar to the Olive Ridley, the Kemp’s Ridley is one of the smallest sea turtles, only reaching about 2 feet in length and weighing up to 100 pounds.  Its life span is estimated to be approximately 50 years in the wild.  Since the early 1970s, the Kemp’s Ridley has been considered endangered and is now considered the most seriously endangered sea turtle in the world. Unlike the olive ridley, the Kemp’s Ridley prefers inshore waters, typically in the Gulf of Mexico.  It is rare to find a Kemp’s Ridley in waters deeper than 200 feet.  When nesting, they are primarily found on beaches that are surrounded by swamps, marshes, or other bodies of water.  The female Kemp’s Ridley returns to the beach in which it was hatched to lay anywhere from 2-3 clutches of 100 eggs each. Kemp’s Ridleys are classified as omnivores, feeding on both plants and animals.  Their diet mainly includes crabs, jellyfish, mollusks, and other fish that are found swimming near shore.
Leatherback The Leatherback sea turtle, scientifically known as “Dermochelys Coriacea,” is the largest living turtle, ranging from 4-8 feet long.  The adult Leatherback can weigh anywhere from 500 to 2,000 pounds; that is greater than the weight of a grand piano!  Unlike other sea turtles, the Leatherback does not have a hard shell; instead, it’s shell is comprised of skin and flesh, giving it it’s leathery texture.  Their average life span is estimated to be 45 years. Leatherback sea turtles are primarily found in the open ocean, but tend to feed in areas that are close to shore.  They spend most their time in the water, but the females come to shore during nesting season to lay their eggs.  Female Leatherbacks lay 4-7 clutches of eggs per season, every 2-4 years; each clutch can contain anywhere from 50-100 individual eggs.  Unlike the female, male Leatherbacks never return to land once they first head out to sea. Leatherback sea turtles are carnivores, eating primarily jellyfish, crab, shrimp, and other aquatic organisms.  In general, the Leatherback sea turtle population eats hundreds of pounds of jellyfish a day.  They have a delicate scissor-like jaw that limits their diet to that of the soft-bodied sea creatures.
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The Olive Ridley sea turtle, scientifically known as “Lepidochelys Olivacea,” gets its name from its distinct olive-colored, heart-shaped shell.  Along with the Kemp’s Ridleys, the Olive Ridleys are one of the smallest sea turtles, only reaching about 2 feet in length and weighing up to 100 pounds.  Its life span is estimated to be approximately 50 years in the wild.  Despite being in vulnerable condition, with a decreasing trend in population, the Olive Ridley is considered the most abundant sea turtle in the world. Olive Ridleys are typically found in the warm, tropical waters of the Pacific, Indian, and occasionally the Atlantic oceans.  Preferring the open ocean, these turtles will travel thousands of miles to reach the shore during their nesting season.  They tend to migrate together, with hundreds coming ashore at the same time.  1 to 3 times per season, these turtles nest, laying on average 105 eggs per clutch. Olive Ridleys are classified as omnivores, feeding on both plants and animals.  They tend to feed mostly on algae, shrimp, crabs, lobster, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms.  Due to their love for the deep, open ocean, Olive Ridleys have no fear of swimming deep to catch their prey, even up to hundreds of feet.
The Olive Ridley
Copyright Turtleman Foundation
The Turtleman Foundation
Saving One Turtle At A Time
Gallery
The Flatback The Flatback sea turtle, scientifically known as “Natator depressus,” did not have its own classification until the late 1980s.  It was originally thought to be a type of green sea turtle, but its distinct smooth, flat-domed body gave it its own identification.  The Flatback can reach 2½ to 3½ feet and weigh anywhere from 155-200 pounds.  Its lifespan is estimated to be around 80 years or more. Flatbacks are typically found in the subtropical and tropical waters of Australia and Indonesia, where there is a plethora of costal coral reefs and grassy shallows.  Due to their very small range in the Pacific and lack of human demand, they are the least endangered sea turtle and tend to experience less threats than other species, giving them a longer average life span.  Approximately 4 times per season, Flatback sea turtles come to shore on tropical and subtropical sandy beaches to nest.  Each female lays around 50 eggs per clutch; the Flatback lays the largest egg, weighing approximately 75 grams. Flatbacks are classified as omnivores, but prefer to eat meat.  They feed on prey found in shallow water, such as shrimp, jellyfish, mollusks, other small fish, coral, and sea cucumbers.
Hawksbill: The Hawksbill sea turtle, scientifically known as “Eretmochelys Imbricate,” is one of the smallest species of turtles.  It can range anywhere from 2-4 feet long and weigh up to 100-150 pounds.  Their shells are known to be heart-shaped, but do tend to elongate as they age.  The average life span of the Hawksbill sea turtle is estimated to be 30-50 years in the wild.  Their population is critically endangered and is showing a decreasing trend. Hawksbill sea turtles are primarily found in the tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.  They tend to remain near the sandy coast where the water is not too deep.  The female Hawksbill will travel a tremendous distance solely to find a tropical beach to nest.  This occurs every 2-3 years, with up to 200 eggs being hatched each nesting season. Hawksbill sea turtles are omnivores, eating primarily fish, jellyfish, mollusks, algae, sea urchins, and coral reef sponges.  Unlike other species of sea turtles, the Hawksbill has developed an immunity to the toxins of the coral reef sponges and therefore, experiences very little competition trying to obtain their primary source of food.  Their beak is similar to that of a bird, narrow and pointed, allowing it to reach into the small cracks within the coral reef and pull out organisms that may be wedged far beneath the surface.
The Kemp’s Ridley Similar to the Olive Ridley, the Kemp’s rRdley is one of the smallest sea turtles, only reaching about 2 feet in length and weighing up to 100 pounds.  Its life span is estimated to be approximately 50 years in the wild.  Since the early 1970s, the Kemp’s Ridley has been considered endangered and is now considered the most seriously endangered sea turtle in the world. Unlike the olive ridley, the Kemp’s Ridley prefers inshore waters, typically in the Gulf of Mexico.  It is rare to find a Kemp’s Ridley in waters deeper than 200 feet.  When nesting, they are primarily found on beaches that are surrounded by swamps, marshes, or other bodies of water.  The female Kemp’s Ridley returns to the beach in which it was hatched to lay anywhere from 2-3 clutches of 100 eggs each. Kemp’s Ridleys are classified as omnivores, feeding on both plants and animals.  Their diet mainly includes crabs, jellyfish, mollusks, and other fish that are found swimming near shore.
Leatherback The Leatherback sea turtle, scientifically known as “Dermochelys Coriacea,” is the largest living turtle, ranging from 4-8 feet long.  The adult Leatherback can weigh anywhere from 500 to 2,000 pounds; that is greater than the weight of a grand piano!  Unlike other sea turtles, the Leatherback does not have a hard shell; instead, it’s shell is comprised of skin and flesh, giving it it’s leathery texture.  Their average life span is estimated to be 45 years. Leatherback sea turtles are primarily found in the open ocean, but tend to feed in areas that are close to shore.  They spend most their time in the water, but the females come to shore during nesting season to lay their eggs.  Female Leatherbacks lay 4-7 clutches of eggs per season, every 2-4 years; each clutch can contain anywhere from 50-100 individual eggs.  Unlike the female, male Leatherbacks never return to land once they first head out to sea. Leatherback sea turtles are carnivores, eating primarily jellyfish, crab, shrimp, and other aquatic organisms.  In general, the Leatherback sea turtle population eats hundreds of pounds of jellyfish a day.  They have a delicate scissor-like jaw that limits their diet to that of the soft-bodied sea creatures.
The Olive Ridley The olive Ridley sea turtle, scientifically known as “Lepidochelys olivacea,” gets its name from its distinct olive-colored, heart-shaped shell.  Along with the Kemp’s Ridleys, the Olive Ridleys are one of the smallest sea turtles, only reaching about 2 feet in length and weighing up to 100 pounds.  Its life span is estimated to be approximately 50 years in the wild.  Despite being in vulnerable condition, with a decreasing trend in population, the Olive Ridley is considered the most abundant sea turtle in the world. Olive Ridleys are typically found in the warm, tropical waters of the Pacific, Indian, and occasionally the Atlantic oceans.  Preferring the open ocean, these turtles will travel thousands of miles to reach the shore during their nesting season.  They tend to migrate together, with hundreds coming ashore at the same time.  1 to 3 times per season, these turtles nest, laying on average 105 eggs per clutch. Olive Ridleys are classified as omnivores, feeding on both plants and animals.  They tend to feed mostly on algae, shrimp, crabs, lobster, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms.  Due to their love for the deep, open ocean, Olive Ridleys have no fear of swimming deep to catch their prey, even up to hundreds of feet.
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