Sea turtles, Human impact, Climate change, Eco-warriors, Pollution, Conservation, The Turtle Walkers
Turtles incredible creatures that have adapted to all different kinds of climates are found all over the world except Antarctica, with around 376 species found globally! Another fact that makes them so incredible and unique is that turtles are the only animals that has its hips and shoulder blades inside its rib cage! How amazing is that??
Turtle vs Tortoise
Often there is a confusion between what exactly is a turtle and a tortoise. So to clear this confusion once and for all…all tortoises are turtles, however not all turtles are tortoises. Turtles and Tortoises fall under the same order Testudines which includes all reptiles that have their bodies enclosed within a hard shell which protects them from predators. However even though you can call tortoises turtles, the reason why tortoises aren’t commonly known as turtles is because tortoises are land animals. They spend most of their time on land and only venture near a water source to quench their thirst. Whereas most turtles are complete sea creatures that venture on land solely to lay their eggs!
Today we are going to be discussing sea turtles exclusively! Sea Turtles have been on our planet for over 100 million years- since the time dinosaurs roamed the earth! Their resilient nature has helped them survive many milestones which other species on Earth couldn’t! The design and structure of the shell of a turtle, which it cannot exit, is like no other animal and it ensures the soft body of the turtle remains protected with this hard shell, making this creature extremely resilient and sturdy.
Turtles are not social animals, however the one time when you will see a large number of turtles congregating together is during nesting. All turtles lay their eggs on land. Watching thousands of female turtles retiring to a beach to lay their eggs is an extraordinary phenomenon to witness
The nesting cycle can vary from species to species with some laying their eggs twice a year, annually as well as every alternate year. Each female turtle makes her way to the beach and starts digging the sand with her hind limbs to create a deep chambers in which she will lay her eggs. The rate of development and the gender of the baby sea turtles will depend on the temperature at which they are incubated in the nest as eggs.
For the rate of development, higher the temperature of incubation, faster the rate of development. For the sex of the baby turtles, the mother lays the eggs in such a way that equal number of male and female hatchlings are formed. An incubation temperature of 87.8° Fahrenheit and above will result in the hatchlings being born as females and the eggs incubated below 81.86 Fahrenheit, will result in male hatchlings.
As you can see, temperature plays an important role in the life of a turtle. With global warming heating up our oceans and the environment, the temperature on beaches where turtles come to lay their eggs can reach up to lethal temperatures, causing the eggs to die even before they get a chance at life. Global warming is one of the many issues being faced by turtles today. Plastic pollution choking up the oceans, illegal harvesting and poaching for pet trade and meat, and habitat destruction are increasing the risk of survival of these ancient species each and every day.