Happy World Turtle Day! We’re shellebrating our fine reptilian friends with some turtle fun-facts.
Did you know:
- There are approximately 290 species of turtles and tortoises that inhabit oceans, fresh waters, and land environments.
- Turtles are characterized by two broad bony shells that enclose and protect the body and jaws without teeth that form a beak-like structure.
- Once they enter the sea after hatching, male Hawksbill sea turtles never leave it, and females come out only to lay their eggs.
- Did you know the Museum is helping to preserve the iconic Galápagos tortoise Lonesome George?
- For centuries, ships would load up on Galápagos tortoises to provide fresh meat during sea voyages, one tortoise could provide 200 pounds of meat.
- The Leatherback is the largest turtle, reaching a length of almost 6 feet, while smaller species, such as the Bog turtle, reach a maximum shell length of 4 inches.
- Did you know that two brother African spur-thighed tortoises live in the Museum? Meet Hermes and Mud!
- Softshell turtles, genus Trionyx, have gill-like filaments in their pharynx that serve as respiratory organs.
Stop by the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians to learn more.
New research provides insight to the population distribution and “lost years” of Central Pacific green turtles, the span of time when the turtles hatch, enter the water, and emerge on a feeding ground often hundreds of miles away.
The study indicates that instead of simply drifting with ocean currents until they reach a landmass, young sea turtles may actively swim to reach specific feeding grounds.
Read the full story.
This summer, Michael Esbach, Pacific Programs manager in the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, traveled to the Solomon Islands to help improve sea turtle conservation in Tetepare, the largest uninhabited tropical island in the South Pacific. View the amazing slideshow documenting his work.