About Sea Turtles
Turtles are one of the most primitive groups of vertebrates in existence and are found on every continent except Antarctica. The most ancient turtle fossil dates from the Triassic period, nearly 230 million years ago.
There are seven species of marine turtle found today that developed from a single, unique group that separated from other turtle species over 100 million years ago.
Sea turtles have a modified jaw but, lack teeth. They have primitive hearing, an excellent sense of smell and their vision is good underwater. There are one or two claws present on each of their long front flippers, with the exception of the leatherback turtle that lacks claws. The female’s tails are shorter than the males, which house the male reproductive organ and help in the mating process.
Sea turtles are cold blooded animals; therefore, they are unable to maintain a constant body temperature and must use the sun to regulate their temperature. Only the leatherback turtle is capable of regulating their body temperature by using changes in the blood flow to the skin and periphery. This allows them to travel to cold waters in search of food.
Sea turtles use lungs to breathe air and therefore need to emerge periodically. They are capable of diving to great depths, especially the leatherback, with a maximum recorded depth of 1300 meters. Sea turtles have a slow metabolic rate that allows them to conserve oxygen and stay immersed for extended periods of time.