Turtle-y Awesome Turtle Facts

22 June, 2016

From the tough and lovable turtles from Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles to the adorable Squirt and his turtle family from Finding Nemo, these beloved creatures have captured the hearts of many. But how much do we really know turtles?

  • The Great Barrier Reef is home to six of the world's seven sea turtle species.
  • Turtle hatchlings weigh only 15-30 grams at birth and measure 5-7 centimetres on average.
  • A fully grown leatherback turtle can reach a length of 2 metres and weigh up to 900 kg.
  • At the other end of the scale, olive ridley turtles grow to a length of 1 metres, but weigh in at a humble 45 kilos.
  • The estimated lifespan of sea turtles range from 60-80 years. Rock on, dude!
  • All turtles are omnivores, meaning they eat what they can. Favourite staples include sea grass and jellyfish.
  • Turtle timeline: November - turtle nesting season starts | December - turtle nesting season in full swing | January - baby turtles start to hatch | February - hatching is in full swing | March - hatching season comes to a close.
  • Baby turtles take 6-8 weeks to hatch and the sex is determined by the temperature of the nest. Warmer sand means more females and cooler sand means boys.
  • Only 1 in a 1000 turtles survive to maturity.
  • Baby turtles spend 20-30 years riding the ocean currents before returning to their birthplace to nest. Where they go is still a mystery.
  • Scientists believe turtles have the ability to use the earth's magnetic field as an internal GPS to find their way back home.
  • The top side of a turtle's shell is called the carapace. It's made up of 60 different bones and plates that give the shell incredible strength and protection.
  • Humans pose a significant threat to the world's turtle population. Six of the world's seven species are endangered as a direct result of human impact. 

Word Count: 279

Author: Tourism and Events Queensland 

The Fact Sheet is supplied courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland. For more information, please go to www.queensland.com or www.blog.queensland.com. For images, please visit http://trq.lookat.me.com.au/

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