World Turtle Day 2019: Take a Moment to Immerse Yourself

Turtles date back to the time of the dinosaurs – but they have never faced greater threats.

Published 23 May 2019, 10:52 BST



Sea Turtles 101

Sea turtles have existed since the time of the dinosaurs. Find out about the ancient mariners' oldest known ancestor, how certain adaptations may have helped the reptiles survive, and the conservation efforts being made to save them.

Rising Temperatures Cause Sea Turtles to Turn Female

Warming temperatures off the coasts of Australia may be having a devastating effect on green sea turtle populations by turning almost all their offspring into females. Sex in sea turtles is determined by the heat of the sand the eggs incubate in. As temperatures rise due to climate change, more and more females are being born. On Raine Island, the Pacific Ocean's largest and most important green sea turtle rookery scientists found that female sea turtles now outnumber males 116 to 1. Raine appears to have been producing almost exclusively females for at least 20 years. It's unclear how turtles are affected worldwide, and other factors like habitat changes may play a role in shifting sex ratios.

Watch Baby Sea Turtles Run on Treadmills—for Science 

How miniature treadmills and tiny swimsuits have helped scientists study baby turtles

World Turtle Day recognises the uniqueness and plight of turtles around the world. These reptiles date to the time of the dinosaurs, but factors such as climate change, ocean plastics, hunting, the illegal pet trade and disruption of ecosystems has pushed this ancient group of reptiles closer to the brink than they have ever been. Almost every species of sea turtle is endangered. 

So take a moment today to appreciate the turtle – and find out more of what you can do to help here. 

National Geographic is committed to reducing the amount of plastic waste reaching our oceans. Find out how you can reduce your use of single use plastics here – and take your pledge


A green sea turtle hatchling swims towards the safety of the open sea off Nengo Nengo, French Polynesia.

Photograph by David Doubilet, National Geographic
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