Sea turtle diets differ by species and age. Not only are some types predators while others are herbivores, some change what they eat as they age. The reason for such range comes down to physiological factors like jaw shape and size and resistance to toxic substances discovered in some victim.
What do Green Sea Turtles Eat?
Incredibly, green sea turtles are the only herbivorous types. Their jaws are perfectly adjusted for consuming sea lawns, seaweed, and algae. With their serrated, saw-like beak, they can scrape the algae off rocks and tear yards. In fact, green sea turtles are essential for keeping coral reefs by avoiding overgrowth of algae. There is even a seagrass species known as “turtle turf” because, in areas like the Caribbean, the green sea turtle eats it exclusively.
What do Leatherback Sea Turtles Eat?
If you have actually been questioning, “Do sea turtles eat jellyfish,” the response is yes. Leatherback sea turtles are carnivores with delicate, scissor-like jaws perfectly fit for consuming jellyfish. While they will also occasionally consume fish, mollusks, squid, and sea urchins, they prefer soft-bodied animals. Surprisingly, some leatherback turtles have been tracked crossing the whole Pacific Ocean to feed on swarms of jellyfish discovered off the coasts. The leatherback’s mouth and throat are lined with spine-like structures called papillae which help them swallow. Sadly, because their diet consists of mainly jellyfish, they typically eat plastic bags floating in the ocean which results in their deaths.
What do Loggerhead Sea Turtles Eat?
Unlike the fragile jaws of leatherback, the loggerhead turtle’s jaws are strong and adjusted for grinding. They usually have big heads and strong feet that allow them to catch and crush prey discovered on the ocean floor. They mainly eat crabs, horseshoe crabs, other mollusks, and shrimps. They do likewise consume jellyfish.
What do Hawksbill Sea Turtles Eat?
Since they have jaws that satisfy at an intense angle, hawksbill turtles can easily reach food in crevices and tight areas like those found in coral reefs. They are omnivores and are understood to consume primarily sponges, shrimps, squids, sea grasses, sea urchins, and barnacles. Surprisingly, while sponges consist of glass-like spinal columns called spicules which are typically harmful to sea creatures, hawksbill turtles are unsusceptible to it. They are likewise known to eat only specific types of sponges which help give more uncommon sponges an opportunity to grow, producing a more varied eco-system.
What do Baby Sea Turtles Eat?
What do baby sea turtles eat? As discussed previously, the diet plan of many types of sea turtles modifications as they age. For example, young green sea turtles are omnivores, taking in a range of insects, crustaceans, sea grasses, and worms. Loggerheads are likewise omnivorous as hatchlings, only growing more carnivorous as they become adults. Young hawksbill turtles are unable to dive deep, and as a result, invest their early years discovering food among sea plants near the water’s surface area.
Do Sea Turtles Eat Fish?
Protein is crucial to the diet plan of lots of sea turtles. For that reason, fish becomes part of the diet plans of some types. Olive ridley turtles and Kemp ridley turtles specifically are known for eating fish to name a few shellfishes and mollusks. Flatback sea turtles also can eat fish.