Sea turtles are found in all the world's oceans besides the Arctic Ocean, and some species travel between oceans. The Flatback turtle is found solely on the northern coast of Australia. The Leatherback is the largest, measuring six or seven feet (2 m) in length at maturity, and three to five feet (1 to 1.5 m) in width, weighing up to 1300 pounds (600 kg). Most other species are smaller being two to four feet in length (0.5 to 1 m) and proportionally less wide. Different species are distinguished by varying anatomical aspects: for instance the prefrontal scales on the head, the number of and shape of scutes on the carapace, and the type of inframarginal scutes on the plastron. The Leatherback is the only sea turtle that doesn't have a hard shell instead carrying a mosaic of bony plates beneath its leathery skin.














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Sea turtles have an extraordinary sense of time and location. They are highly sensitive to the Earth's magnetic field and probably use it to navigate. The fact that most species return to nest at the locations they were born at seems to indicate an imprint of that location's magnetic features. The ridley turtles are especially peculiar because instead of nesting individually like the other species, they come ashore in one mass arrival known as an "arribada" (the arrival). With the Kemp's ridley this occurs during the day and on only one beach in the entire world. The numbers used to range in the thousands but these days due to the effects of extensive egg poaching and hunting in previous years the numbers are in the hundreds.

1-6 US Fish & Wildlife Service
7-12 National Undersea Research Program




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