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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for The Lifecycle of a Turtle - Fun Facts about Our Flippered Friends
Joanna James Joanna James
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The Lifecycle of a Turtle - Fun Facts about Our Flippered Friends

Sri Lanka's dazzling golden beaches are quite commonly frequented by at least 5 types of sea turtles, all of which are on the endangered list. Here are some fun facts about them!



Female sea turtles head towards the shores to lay and bury their eggs in the sand. Before laying their eggs, they dig between 3-5 holes to fend off predators and confuse them, laying their eggs only in the last dug out hole before making their way back to the ocean. Female turtles lay up to 100 eggs at a single time, only a few make it back to the sea. The eggs hatch within 2-3 months, and when they do, they break through the shell and head towards the water.



Sea turtles can stay underwater for long periods of time without emerging for air. During mating season, the males rub against the female or nod his head up and down towards her in a courting ritual. Female turtles are known to carry fertilized eggs for at least a year. Turtles can grow up to 6 feet in length.



Unfortunately, turtles have both animal and human predators, which is why all types are now on the endangered list. Eggs are the most hunted by both animal and human as it's served as a delicacy, while fishermen also hunt adult turtles for their shells and meat. There are a number of turtle hatcheries located along the southern coast of the island that aims at conserving and protecting the sea turtles. However, be careful when visiting as most of them are not genuine and have been known to exploit these beautiful creatures and sell their eggs for human consumption. If you're staying at a hotel in the south such as Saman Villas, ask the concierge to show you the way to the sea turtle hatchery project, as it's one of the most popular things to do in Bentota.



Turtles are often known to be some of the oldest living creatures in the ocean, with some living to be well over 100 years old (Thanks, Finding Nemo for that helpful tip!).


Turtle types

The most visited and commonly sighted sea turtles are the Hawksbill Turtle, Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead and Green Turtle, all of which have been listed on the endangered species list. The Hawksbill is said to be critically endangered.


Turtles are wild

Despite a few of them often seen as friendly and approachable, turtles often snap and attack when they feel threatened. If you happen to come close to one while swimming, don't get too close or obstruct its way. Remember you should not feed turtles anything that can't be found in the sea. Tourists are often seen feeding bread to turtles as they are unaware of the harmful effects this might have an overall ecosystem, including disrupting and potentially harming the turtle's digestive system. Turtles, depending on their environment and type, can either be herbivores, omnivores or carnivores and will eat anything from algae to jellyfish!