Sea Turtles

The Minnesota Zoo has two species of sea turtles – the Atlantic Ridley Sea Turtle Lepidochelys kempii, which is critically endangered, and the Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas, which is listed as a vulnerably threatened species.

Where They Live:
Atlantic Ridley sea turtles live along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida coast, and up the Atlantic coast of the United States and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Green sea turtles live in tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

What They Eat:
Atlantic Ridley sea turtles are omnivores and eat crustaceans, mollusks, fish, jellyfish, sea urchins, algae, and seaweed. Green sea turtles are herbivores and eat sea grasses and algae.

Test Your Knowledge! (answers below)

  1. How many eggs can sea turtles lay at one time?
    a. 10     b. 35       c. 80        d. 110
  2. Sea turtle populations are threatened by…
    a. habitat loss            b.pollution        c. entanglement in fishing nets         d. all of the above

Answer each of the following questions with True or False:

  1. Sea turtles do not have teeth.
  2. Scutes are made of keratin, the same material that makes up your fingernails.
  3. Green sea turtles can only stay under water for five minutes before needing to surface for a breath.

Fun Facts!
Atlantic Ridley sea turtles change colors!  As hatchlings, Atlantic Ridley sea turtles are almost entirely dark purple.  By adulthood, they change to a mix of yellow, gray, and green.

The green sea turtle gets its name from the green-colored fat tissue under its shell. The fat has a green color because it eats seagrass and algae.

Parts of a Sea Turtle
Download this activity sheet to learn and label the parts of a sea turtle.