Sea Turtles of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States by NOAA

15 Fin-Tastic Facts about Sea Turtles

  • Texas waters are home to 5 out of 7 species of sea turtles: Green, Kemp’s Ridley, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, and Leatherback sea turtles all live in the Gulf of Mexico
  • All species of sea turtles in Texas are endangered, meaning they are at risk of going extinct
  • The biggest threats to sea turtles in Texas are boat collisions and entanglement in fishing gear
  • Sea turtles cannot hide in their shell, nor can they leave their shell
  • Sea turtles have their spines fused to their shell, so they can feel when their shell is being touched
  • Sea turtles have lungs, breathe air, and must swim to the surface to breathe
  • Sea turtles have strong jaws that can crush clams and crabs
  • Any animal with a mouth can bite you, even sea turtles can bite and cause injuries
  • Sea turtles absorb heat from their environment to maintain their body temperature
  • Sea turtle flippers are delicate and can break if pulled on
  • Sea turtles “cry” to remove salt from their bodies
  • Sea turtles cannot breathe and crawl on land at the same time, so they must stop and take breaths
  • Sea turtles often grow algae on their backs from being close to the surface of the water and their shells become home to lots of other small creatures
  • Sea turtles are huge! The smallest species, the Kemp’s Ridley, can weigh about 100 pounds while the largest species, the Leatherback, can weigh over 1000 pounds
  • Sea turtles are essential to marine ecosystems, which is why we must protect them and treat them with respect

Sea Turtle Species Identification