All sea turtles are protected by the Endangered
Species Act, which lists all species as endan-
gered except the loggerhead, which is listed
as threatened. 

Marine turtles are one of the Earth's most
ancient creatures, with a fossil record going
back 150 million years.  Some estimates
suggest they first appeared on Earth as
much as 230 million years ago, making
them 224 million years older than humans! 
There are seven species of sea turtles:

Green (Chelonia mydas): Medium- to
large-sized, brownish turtle with mottled
patterns of markings on its shell. The green sea turtle usually lives among sea grass. The green turtle measures 36 to 43 inches and weighs 200 to 300 pounds.

Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata): Small- to medium-sized turtle with shield-like plates on its shell. The hawksbill turtle is the source of the term "tortoise shell" because of the pattern of markings on its shell. Their beautiful shells were once prized until the hunting of sea turtles became illegal. The hawksbill gets it’s name from its beak which is shaped like a hawk’s. They measure 30 to 36 inches and weighs 100 to 200 pounds.

Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii): The smallest and the most endangered of all the sea turtles, the Kemp’s Ridley has an oval-shaped shell that is olive-gray in color. On average, it reaches up to 30 inches long and weighs 80 to 100 pounds.

Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea): This turtle is named for its olive-colored shell. The Olive Ridley has a wide, heart-shaped shell and a greenish-white underside. It is 24 to 30 inches long and weighs 90 to 100 pounds.

Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea): This species is the largest living sea turtle. They average six feet long and can weigh 1,400 pounds. The leatherback has large limbs and no claws. It does not have a shell but instead has a leathery back with raised gray stripes.

Loggerhead (Caretta caretta): The loggerhead has reddish-brown markings, it can reach 33 to 40 inches in length and weigh 150 to 400 pounds. One of the two main loggerhead nesting areas is located along the Atlantic coast of Florida.

Australian Flatback (Natator depressus): This turtle is named for its flat back and because it is found only in the waters of Australia. The Australian flatback can weigh up to 200 pounds and reach 40 inches in length.

The worldwide population for each species is unknown. 

Most sea turtles live approximately 15 to 20 years and may live to be 80 years old. 

Sea turtles are found in warm and temperate waters throughout the world and migrate hundreds of miles between nesting and feeding grounds. 

Sea turtles eat jellyfish, seaweed, crabs, shrimp, snails, algae and mollusks. 

Sea turtles spend most of their time in the water. When they do come to the shore, to lay eggs, for example, traveling on land is awkward. 

Pregnant females pull themselves ashore, dig a pit into the sandy beach, and lay 70-170 eggs. Female turtles typically return to the same beach where they were hatched to lay eggs. Six to ten weeks later, baby turtles break out of this nest and scuttle down the beach into the sea. Young sea turtles swim towards kelp beds several miles offshore, where they shelter, feed and grow. During their early life stages, baby sea turtles are highly vulnerable and most do not reach adulthood.  

Sea turtles are threatened with capture, harvesting of eggs, destruction of nesting beaches, ocean pollution, oil spills and entanglement in fishing and shrimp nets. 

Endangered Species Act, *CITES, Appendix I

*Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international treaty with more than 144 member countries. Appendix I listed species cannot be traded commercially. Appendix II listed species can be traded commercially only if it does not harm their survival.

World Animal Foundation
Adopt A Sea Turtle ]   WAF Home ]

Adopt A Sea Turtle from World Animal Foundation and make a difference for animals and the environment.

Your WAF Adopt A Sea Turtle Kit comes in a deluxe WAF Folder and includes:

  • Glossy Photo of Your Adopted Sea Turtle

  • Adopt A Sea Turtle Adoption Certificate

  • Fact Sheet About Your Adopted Sea Turtle

  • Help Animals Info Cards Packed With Information On Animal Issues & How You Can Help Animals And The Environment

Adopt An Animal Adopt A Sea Turtle Kits make great gifts and can be sent directly to the recipient at a date of your choosing.  Simply supply the recipient's name and mailing address as shipping information.  We'll even include a letter stating the Adopt A Sea Turtle is from you.

WAF's Adopt A Sea Turtle symbolic adoption is $35 and helps the World Animal Foundation to preserve the planet and protect its animals.  Adopt an sea turtle for yourself or order an Adopt A Sea Turtle as a gift.  Help make a difference for animals - Adopt A Sea Turtle Today!

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