FIND OUT MORE ABOUT TURTLES
AND PLASTIC IN OUR OCEANS
There are 7 different types of sea turtle and all of them are under threat and endangered. This means they could become extinct unless people protect them and their habitats.
Can you learn and remember all 7 types? Loggerhead, Leatherback, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Flatback, Green and Kemp’s Ridley.
The biggest turtle is the Leatherback which can grow up to 2 metres – that is just a bit taller than your teacher! The smallest are the Olive & Kemp’s Ridley and they are 60 cm long – as big as you were when you were a baby!
Sea Turtles generally like to live in warm seas as they are cold blooded reptiles. They have scaly skin, breathe air and lay eggs. What other reptiles do you know?
They have big powerful flippers at the front to propel them through the water and the back flippers are used for steering. Leatherbacks are the fastest and can swim up to 20 mph – about the same speed as an average dog – can you run that fast? Why do you think turtles would need to swim that fast?
Different turtles like to eat lots of different food like sea grass, jellyfish, seaweed, crabs, fish and shrimp. What are your favourite foods? How do you think the plastic in the ocean tricked Duffy into thinking it was her food?
Sea Turtles can hold their breath for several hours if they are resting but if they are busy feeding they need to surface every few minutes for air. They can live as long as people – up to 100 years!
PLASTIC IN OUR OCEANS
So much in our world around us involves the use of plastic. Have a look around you right now – how many bits of plastic can you see? Computer, pen, window frames, chairs, drinks bottles, food wrappers – it is even in some of our clothes! We are a world that is addicted to plastic and when we throw it away it stays in the environment for 500 years or more – every single piece of plastic ever made is still around today.
The plastic in our ocean comes from three main sources:
1. 20% comes from boats and container ships. Did you know in rough seas containers can be washed off the ship and end up in the sea. Everything that was inside the container then breaks free and empties into the oceans. Whole containers full of rubber ducks, lego and even Kinder Eggs have been found washed up on beaches around the world.
2. 10% is left by people as rubbish on beaches.
3. 70% is rubbish from inland which gets washed into drains and rivers and then ends up in the sea. Every single piece of rubbish you see lying around you in the streets and playgrounds, in parks and towns and along the edges of roads, unless it gets picked up by cleaners will end up in the ocean.
Every year 100 million marine animals are killed by plastic in our oceans. Half of all turtles have eaten plastic at some time. It is our job to look after our oceans by behaving responsibly and spreading the word. See our Get Involved page for ideas on how you can help.