Marine life in Bali – turtle

Turtles have been on Earth for over 100 million years, even surviving the dinosaurs. 

These ancient creatures are solitary, nomadic, and adventurous animals and can be found worldwide.

Marine life in Bali, diving with turtles
Video by Ludovic Amevor

Turtle. 13 Fun Facts

1. There are seven species of marine turtles

The seven species of marine turtles are loggerhead, leatherback, green turtle, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, olive ridley, and fallback.

2. Turtles can spend long periods underwater

 Hawksbill turtle

Turtles have lungs and they breathe air. For this reason, they need to come to the surface to breathe oxygen.

Some species can only spend 30 minutes underwater, but others can hold their breath for up to 5 hours.

To accomplish this incredible feat, they lower their heart rate to conserve oxygen. Meanwhile, they can get their food and swim long distances. They can even sleep underwater without going out to breathe.

3. Turtles have an incredibly long life span. The fact is they can live up to more than 100 years


4. Sea turtles mate at sea

Females store sperm from one or more males. With this supply of sperm, she fertilizes her multiple eggs, laying throughout the season.

The average number of eggs produced varies depending on the species. Most turtles lay more than 100 eggs at a time.

In a single nesting season, females lay between two and six clutches of eggs. The clutches are laid approximately every two weeks, and the period between female nesting season ranges from one to nine years.

5. Sea turtles rely on beaches for nesting


Females come ashore on beaches to lay their eggs. Females dig a hole in the sand, deposit their clutch of eggs, cover it back up, and then return to the sea, leaving the nest unattended.

Males stay in the water all the time. They only go to the beach if they have a complication.

The babies start digging out of their holes as soon as the eggs hatch. This process can take up to a week. Once free, the baby turtles are alone to find the ocean and leave for their first migration to the sea to their nursery areas. 

6. The sex of sea turtles depends on the temperature in the nest

Sea turtles, like many other species, lack sex chromosomes. Instead, sex is determined by the environment.

Eggs take between 45 to 80 say to hatch depending on temperature.

Warmer temperatures, generally above 29°C, tend to produce more females than males.

7. Sea turtle have an excellent sense of direction


Sea turtles can detect Earth’s magnetic field and use it as a compass.

They migrate from nests to the sea and from shore to the ocean. Females also migrate to lay eggs on the same beach where they hatched.

They also move between feeding areas when juveniles and between feeding and breeding sites for the rest of their adult lives.

Turtles can migrate up to 20,000 km and reach up to 36 km / h.

8.  Turtles cry

Sea turtles drink much salt water, intentionally or by accident. For example, every time they eat, they swallow seawater.

To avoid dehydration, they must get rid of excess salt. They have two ways to achieve it:

The first is a muscular esophagus that squeezes out the salty water when it swallows their prey. It is common to see turtles “blowing” the water down their nostrils as they swallow.

The second way for sea turtles to get rid of excess salt is through tears. These tear glands are larger than your brain and eyes and constantly produce salty tears.

The tears are clear and wash in the water. However, when sea turtles emerge from the nesting water, they appear to be crying.

9. They are solitary animals


The only time they are in a group is when they leave the nest. However, once at sea, they set out on their journey and fight for survival alone.

The breeding season is one of the few times you can see turtles as a couple.

10. Sea turtle cannot retract into their shell, like other turtles

This is one of the big differences with land turtles. For this reason, they are more vulnerable to predators especially when they are nesting and at birth. 

11. The role of the sea turtle is essential to keep the oceans healthy

Green turtle

Depending on their diet, different species of turtles play their role differently in the conservation of the seas. For example, some turtles consume jellyfish, which would multiply uncontrollably if the turtles disappeared.

There are also turtle species that are key to pruning grassland marines, such as the green turtle and others that help maintain balance on coral reefs. For example, the hawksbill turtle. 

12. All seven species are considered threatened or endangered

Sadly, the fact is that they face many dangers as they travel the seas, for example, accidental capture and entanglement in fishing gear. Also, the loss of nesting and feeding sites to coastal development, poaching, and ocean pollution, including plastic.

13. Where can we dive with sea turtles in Bali?

Actually, we can see turtles in Bali all along the coast. The truth is most common turtles we see on the reefs are hawksbill turtles.

We can also see green turtles in areas where seagrass grows. Also, occasionally we have seen the largest turtle that exists, the laud turtle, also known as the leatherback turtle.

Would you like to dive with us? We are looking forward to meeting you and enjoying diving together!