ANIMAL CURIOSITIES

Endangered animals: beauty on endangered sea turtles

Sea turtles are a superfamily of Testudines adapted to marine life. Thanks to the elongated shape of their bodies, which are covered by a robust shell (or carapace), and the presence of 'legs' turned into flippers, these turtles have adapted perfectly to marine life.

They are among the oldest tetrapods on Earth, but in recent decades, due to climate change in the seas, dwindling food resources and pollution of the seas, they have become an endangered species in need of protection by the international community.

It is undeniable that human hunting has also contributed to bringing this species to the brink of extinction. Perhaps by knowing more about this wonderful animal, we can contribute to its worldwide repopulation.

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Sea turtles
Sea turtles are a superfamily of Testudines adapted to marine life. Thanks to the elongated shape of their bodies, which are covered by a robust shell (or carapace), and the presence of 'legs' turned into flippers, these turtles have adapted perfectly to marine life. It is undeniable that hunting by humans has also contributed to bringing this species to the brink of extinction. Perhaps by knowing more about this wonderful animal, we can contribute to its worldwide repopulation.
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I am now on the verge of extinction
They are among the oldest tetrapods on Earth, but in recent decades, due to climate change in the seas, dwindling food resources and pollution of the seas, they have become an endangered species in need of protection by the international community. By mistaking plastic in the sea for food, they ingest it and die. In addition, the reduction of beaches in favour of large seaside resorts are greatly reducing the places available for spawning. WWF estimates that 150,000 sea turtles end up caught in fishing gear in the Mediterranean and of these more than 40,000 die.
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They are very beneficial to the marine ecosystem
Sea turtles are one of the few species that feed mostly on sea grass. In order to grow and thrive, sea grass requires continuous pruning, an activity that turtles take care of. Sea turtle grazing helps maintain the health of the seagrass beds. Sea grass beds provide breeding and development grounds for numerous marine animals.
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Fact No. 1: They are turtles that cannot retreat into their shells
Unlike turtles that live exclusively on land, sea turtles do not possess the ability to retreat within their shells as a means of defence. This is because sea turtles have a more fusiform body plan than their terrestrial or freshwater counterparts. They also have less need of them, as they are better able to defend themselves against possible predators given their large size.
Di Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2483099
Fun fact No. 2. The sex of sea turtles is also affected by temperature
As soon as they are laid, sea turtle eggs are at the exact same embryonic stage; the temperature of the pit where they will develop influences the proportion of males and females that will emerge. At the so-called 'pivot temperature', there will be 50% males and 50% females. The higher the temperature, the greater the amount of males that will emerge. However, it should be borne in mind that it is only between stage 14 and 20 of development (i.e. a short period of time) that temperature can influence births.
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Although they live in the sea, they are born on land
Once they reach sexual maturity, the female turtles go up the beach to lay their eggs (50 to 350) in a hole under the sand. The moment of egg hatching is the most dangerous in the entire life of the sea turtles as, helpless, they have to walk the stretch of beach to the water. During this time, they are totally prey, unprotected, to predators, such as sea birds, but also crabs and other types of crustaceans.
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The age of sea turtles
But how long can sea turtles actually live? According to the most recent studies, the life span of a sea turtle is between 30 and 60 years. However, it is not at all uncommon to find specimens that are well over 100 years old.
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