Most marine turtle species spend much of their lives in continental shelf waters. Males do not leave the sea and females only come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches during the appropriate season. During the nesting season, mature males and females migrate from feeding grounds and mate near the nesting beach.
Once the hatchlings exit their nest and reach the sea, a swimming frenzy ensues to reach open ocean zones where currents meet, and where the small turtles find food and refuge from their many predators. Only once marine turtles become adults do they return to the beach area where they were born to lay their own eggs.
Decades to reach maturity
The long time to reach maturity and the many natural dangers faced by hatchlings and juveniles mean that as few as 1 in 1,000 eggs will survive to adulthood.
Current Population and Distribution
5 of the 7 species are found around the globe (mainly in tropical and subtropical waters) while 2 species have relatively restricted ranges: Kemp's ridley occurs mainly in the Gulf of Mexico and the flatback turtle around northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea.