Sea turtles are one of the adorable species that can be found in the ocean. Their hard shells called ‘carapaces’ protect them from harm but other animals can still prey on them. Unlike other types of turtles, sea turtles cannot hide their body inside their shells. This makes it even more difficult for them to escape especially if they are still a hatchling.
These animals usually live up to 60 years though they are known to mature in their 19th year. Moreover, they can produce their offsprings over a span of 30 years throughout their entire lifetime.
What makes sea turtles special is that mothers usually give birth to a lot of eggs at a time in the sand that can go as deep as two feet below the ground. Land animals such as dogs, ghost crabs and birds can dig up and eat these hatchlings even before they hatch.
Once they break free from their eggs, these baby turtles start to slowly crawl their way from the sand towards the sea. This can be dangerous for them as predators can smell them from afar.
These hatchlings start to swim the moment they reach the sea and start to paddle their tiny flippers as they mature into adulthood. However, they have to be careful too as sharks and other water animals can harm them. Here is a list of animals that usually prey on them:
Some birds like the vulture usually claw on a turtle’s body and fly up in the air before dropping it on a sharp rock to break their prey’s shell. This is done repeatedly until the turtle’s shell breaks which makes it easy for the bird to eat the turtle. Other birds like the sea gull simply open their mouth in an attempt to catch hatchlings either on the shore or in the wide sea. Birds like ravens and herons also like to eat turtles from swaps and lakes from all parts of the world. This makes the birds one of the biggest predators of turtles.
Since these animals like the ghost crabs and surf crabs also hatch and live on the beach, they look for hatchlings to eat by looking for a nest. Once these locations are found, they dig their way down and eat the hatchlings they found at night as they usually stay in their burrows during the day as it is too hot for them to stay out. This also works for these predators of turtles as most hatchlings break from their shells by night time.
Unlike birds, these animals are usually found inland such as raccoons and coyotes. These species like to attack a turtle until it is no longer capable of escaping. It is then carried away so that these mammals can eat it safely in their homes without a threat from other predators who might try to steal their prey from them. Foxes and dogs are also predators as they bite into the turtle’s hard shell and hit on a vital organ. Smaller animals like weasel and skunks also tackle turtles by chewing off the parts that cannot hide deep under its shell.
4. Reptiles and Amphibians
These predators of turtles usually live in a swamp or a lake like alligators and crocodiles that can easily eat a turtle whole with their sharp and strong teeth. This allows the predator to swallow their prey whole as their strength allows them to crush the turtle’s shell without difficulty. The predators are known to camouflage and stay still for hours that can trick the prey into their trap along with their quick movements that leave the turtle no time to escape. Snakes are also known to slither into a turtles’ nest and eat all the eggs under the sand. This prevents the egg from growing and breaking out from its own shell into the freshwater. Other threats include mature frogs but they can only eat small freshwater turtles.
5. Great White Sharks
This enormous shark likes to eat turtles along with other sea animals like sea lions. In some parts of the world like the cold region of Antarctica, the great white shark also feeds off of penguins as well. This turtle predator is famously known for its trick where it attacks on the sea turtles from underneath. This allows the shark to position its teeth diagonally to instantly crush the turtle’s hard shell inside their mouth. Aside from that, their teeth hold the sea turtle in place as it shakes its mouth that can make its prey dizzy enough to move and make it difficult to escape. A sea turtle’s shell is softer compared to that of a land turtle and other sharks include the Tiger Shark and Killer Whales.
A lot of things like plastic pollution can cause turtles and other sea animals to suffocate which makes it hard for them to breathe with an object blocking their noses. Oils that have spilled from ships also harms the sea turtles as this feeds them harmful chemicals that are bad for their organs and can cause their skin to be irritated. Aside from these, sea turtles also get caught in fishing nets that separates them from their home in the sea. This is why it is very important to pick up trash on the beach and in the sea to protect our sea turtles from being hurt.
As more animals harm our turtles, you can do your part to help save them by picking up trash on the beach. If you see hatchlings on a turtle’s nest, do not disturb it and make sure that your pets are on their leash. This prevents your cat or dog from digging up the sand that can kill the hatchlings.
Some people also like to eat turtle’s flesh and egg while selling their hard shells for decorations and other purposes. It is best to avoid buying it to discourage people from hunting them. Lastly, you can tell your family and friends ways on how to help our turtles grow in number by practicing habits that are good for the environment. No effort is too small to help save them today.
I hope that this article on turtle predators was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Animal Facts Page!