Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday 01/20/2021
Sea turtles have roamed the Earth’s oceans for the last 110 million years. An important link to marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds, some sea turtles also eat large numbers of jellyfish and provide a source of income to local communities as a draw for ecotourism. But sea turtle populations have been on the decline. Thousands of marine turtles are accidentally caught by fishing gear each year, and the beaches upon which they depend for nesting are disappearing. The actual documentation of the age of any species of sea turtle is difficult. What we do know is that sea turtles live a long time based on their species. Of the seven species of sea turtles on the globe, the hawksbill has the shortest lifespan at 30 to 50 years, and the green turtle has the longest at 80 years or more. The largest and smallest sea turtles–the leatherback and the kemp's ridley, respectively–both have an average lifespan of 45 to 50 years. The oldest sea turtle documented survived to be 150 years young! Most marine turtles take decades to mature—between 20 and 30 years—and remain actively reproductive for another 10 years.