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Why are Sea Turtles Endangered? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

Can you think of what grocery story plastic bags have to do with sea turtles? Find out in this lesson, which explains why sea turtles are endangered and what people are doing to help them.

Sea Turtles

Sea turtles have been swimming in the world's warm waters for millions of years. There are seven different kinds of sea turtles. After all these years, the number of sea turtles in the world is getting smaller and they're endangered. Many of the reasons are because of people and the choices we make.

We'll first talk about how sea turtles nest. Next, we'll explain the threats to sea turtles and what's being done to help them.

Green Sea Turtles
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How Sea Turtles Nest

Male sea turtles stay in the water, while females come out at night to lay eggs in the sand. Sea turtles travel hundreds and even thousands of miles, but they usually manage to find their way back to where they were born.

A baby sea turtle is called a hatchling. These little ones dig out of their nest at night and go back to the water. They swim to deeper water, which is safer, but their journey is tough and they face many natural dangers. Raccoons, crabs, birds, lizards, fish, and foxes all try to eat the baby turtles. Storms and hurricanes can also ruin nests. Most baby turtles don't survive to become adults.

Baby sea turtles
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Threats to Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are endangered, which means they're in danger of becoming extinct, or disappearing forever. People cause many threats to sea turtles.

  • Pollution - When we pollute the water with trash or chemicals, the water becomes less safe to the animals who live there. Leatherback turtles eat jellyfish, which look a lot like plastic. When these turtles eat plastic bags, they can choke and die. Pollution with chemicals may also lead to diseases in sea turtles.
  • Bycatch - Catching fish for food is a big business. The problem is bycatch, which happens when fishermen accidentally catch other animals like sea turtles. Sea turtles can be hurt or killed by nets and tools.

Sea turtle in net
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