Sea Turtle Lesson for Kids: Facts & Life Cycle

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  • 0:04 Sea Turtles
  • 0:46 Nesting & Hatchlings
  • 1:24 Juveniles & Adults
  • 1:50 Feeding
  • 2:17 Status & Threats
  • 3:24 Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Hanson

Lisa is a Continuous Improvement Coach for her school district and has taught in elementary school for many years. She has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

Sea turtles are one of the only existing animals that's been around since the age of the dinosaurs. In this lesson, you'll learn more about a sea turtle's life cycle, diet, and threats to its well being. Let's take a dive into its ocean environment!

Sea Turtles

Most of us have seen turtles at the zoo, but imagine a turtle the length of a man, swimming through the ocean. Sea turtles are reptiles that live in the ocean and can be as long as 6.5 feet down to 2.5 feet. The smallest can be about 80 pounds, while the largest can weigh around 2,000 pounds! Sea turtles can be yellow, green, reddish-brown, or black in color, depending on the species. Unlike other turtles, sea turtles are not able to pull their legs and head into their shells for protection.

The life cycle of the sea turtle is a long journey, and only a few survive. While sea turtles can live up to 80 years, they start out as small eggs buried in the sand.

Nesting and Hatchlings

A female sea turtle will come to shore and dig a hole in the sand to lay 50-200 eggs. She then buries the hole and heads back to the ocean.

Around 60 days later, the baby turtles break through their shells and dig out of the sand. They then have to make their way to the ocean. The babies usually do this at night to avoid animals who might want to eat them, like crabs and birds. Once a baby reaches the water, it swims nearly non-stop to escape the shore. If a baby sea turtle survives its trip to the open ocean, it gets caught by the current and floats around for miles feeding on algae and seaweed.

Juveniles and Adults

As the turtle grows and gets stronger, it returns closer to the shore. It hangs out in feeding areas close to shore to finish growing. This can take years.

When sea turtles reach adult age, they head to the breeding grounds to mate. Mating season takes place from March to October. Then the males head back to the feeding area, and females go to the beach to lay their eggs. Most females go back to the exact same beach from where they hatched!

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