Centre for in situ Observational Oceanography

Turtle Tracking

Sea Turtles
Species Information

What are Sea Turtles ?

Sea turtles are large air breathing REPTILES. They live in the sea, but must rise to the surface to breathe air.

Like tortoises, sea turtles have a shell. Their shell consist of an upper part (carapace) and a lower section (plastron). They have hard scales (scutes) that cover all over the carapace (except Leatherback turtles). The number of scutes is different for each species of sea turtle.

Sea turtles do not have teeth. They have a strong beak that they use to crush their food (crustaceans for example) or remove algae from their substrate. Their biology is also adapted to a very salty diet : turtles have salt glands that remove excess salt taken in with food. The salt solution drips out of their eyes and looks like tears.

Often, sea turtles are believed not to have ears, because there are no visible holes on the side of their head. However, they do have eardrums, which are covered by skin.

Each species of sea turtle eats, sleeps, mates and swims in distinctly different areas of the ocean. Therefore the turtles do not compete with each other for their food or space.

Turtle Reproduction

Most of the turtle's life is spent in the sea, but females must come onto the beaches to lay their eggs. All sea turtles begin their lives as tiny hatchlings on land. Along the South African coast lines nesting occurs between October and February.

The eggs incubate for about 60 days, depending on the surrounding temperature. The temperature also has an effect on the sex of the juveniles. Cooler (20-24°C) clutches result in a male dominated clutch while warmer (29°C) nests produce females. Clutches laid between seasons produce both male and females.The hatchlings cut themselves out of the egg using a special egg tooth on the end of their beaks, and then slowly stretch their limbs. The hatchlings emerge after dark, when it is cooler and safe from predatory birds.They then move down to the water. During their scramble to the sea, ghost crabs eat many of the hatchlings. Once they are in the water they are very vulnerable to predators such as kingfish and sharks. It is estimated that only 1 or 2 hatchlings out of 1000 that enter the sea will survive to maturity.

Turtle Conservation

Out of the 7 species of Sea Turtles, 3 are "endangered" or "critically endangered", and 3 are classified as "vulnerable". Their numbers are dwindling every year, due to poaching, diseases and pollution. It is therefore essential that every effort be made to ensure the future survival of these creatures.

Want to know more about these fantastic turtles ? Download the PDF below !

Fact about Sea Turtles - PDF download

Roasted for Conservation
Turtle Coffee

Global warming; Biodiversity collapse; Species decline - no doubt, all daunting events that have created a whole host of negative DON'T DO messaging.

What cannot be disputed is that the world has changed and so is the way in which YOU can make a personal difference. Remember, EVERY positive effort, no matter how small, makes a collective HUGE positive change.

Can I make a difference so that our children and their children will be able to enjoy the wonders of this magnificent planet whilst deriving some personal pleasure ?

Most definitely ! With a Roasted for Conservation brew of coffee

PAAZA in partnership with Mastertons Coffee have created the 'Roasted for Conservation' blends for your enjoyment. These offer you the opportunity to contribute to your favourite project whilst enjoying your choice of your favourite coffee blend.

The first in this series is dedicated to Sea Turtle conservation - the 'Turtle Blend'. It is a rich and flavourful medium to dark roast coffee perfect for coffee lovers who also care about protecting turtles. Complimenting this is Mastertons long established 'Chipembere Blend' which has supported Rhino conservation for over 10 years.

How do you contribute ?

There is no additional 'Donate here'! By purchasing one of the Conservation Blends, YOU will automatically be contributing to a specific project. A portion of the sale will be allocated to the relevant project.

Between them, PAAZA & Mastertons have more than 123 years dedicated to supporting and promoting the wonderful African region. Supporting Conservation and its related components, is core to both organisations. To this end, the range will be expanded to include country specific blends and all will be dedicated to specific projects.

PAAZA is proud to be associated with many incredible conservation related projects and aim to bring YOU news and updates through various mediums (written, podcasts, live views) through the central portal www.paaza.africa and PAAZA's mobile app. Underpinning PAAZA's Conservation commitment is the invaluable guiding WAZA Conservation strategies Conservation Strategies - WAZA PAAZA is proud to be the Africa regional Association member of WAZA.

If you would like to be a member of the 'Roasted for Conservation' family, why not visit PAAZA Shop and place your order today.

Collaboration between:
Bayworld logo Addo logo BCRE logo DEA logo Nelson Mandela University logo NZG SANBI logo PAAZA logo