At Innahura Maldives we are incredibly lucky to have a sea turtle hotspot close by. Turtle Rock is a reef where divers and snorkellers can see numerous hawksbill turtles and with green turtles also prolific in Lhaviyani Atoll, if seeing turtles in their natural habitat is on your bucket list, Innahura is the place to be!
To celebrate World Turtle Day on 23rd May, we’ve collected 10 fun facts about turtles.
- There are seven species of sea turtles. The most common ones around Innahura are Hawksbill and Green turtles.
- Turtles are not keen on being called tortoises. While they are both reptiles, unlike tortoises, turtles spend their lives in the water and only come to the beach to nest. Their hears do not retract into their shells and they have flippers not legs.
- Sea turtles breathe air with lungs and can hold their breath a lot longer than you ever could. The Green sea turtle is the champ: it can stay underwater for as long as five hours!
- They don’t have teeth, but their beaks can give clues as to what they eat: a Hawksbill’s narrow, pointed beak helps it pull prey such as sponges from tight spaces in a coral reef; Green sea turtle’s jagged-edged beak is great for snipping sea grass and scraping algae off coral.
- Every now and then, turtles cry. They do so to get rid of extra salt in their bodies.
- A female sea turtle comes ashore to nest, mostly at night. She uses her flippers to dig a nest and lays from 50 to 200 eggs. Then she covers them up with sand before heading back into the sea.
- The temperature of the sand surrounding the eggs determines the sex of the baby turtles. A warmer nest temperature will give more females and cooler will favour males.
- Incubation takes about two months. Unlike baby alligators, which are liberated from their nest by their mother, these hatchlings must do it all themselves. The little turtles orient themselves to the brightest horizon, usually the moon relecting on the ocean and then dash towards it.
- Once in the water, they typically swim several miles off shore, where they are caught in currents that carry them for years before returning to familiar waters, this time is known as the ‘lost years’ due to not much being known about what happens to them.
- Sea turtles regularly navigate long distances to find the same tiny stretch of nesting beach. How they do it is one of nature’s greatest mysteries, but studies suggest they can detect both the angle and intensity of the earth’s magnetic field.
When you encounter a turtle please respect its space and don’t approach, watching from a distance will allow you to view it for longer and not endanger the turtle in any way. Never, ever chase or attempt to touch a turtle.