American Oceans

How Long Do Sea Turtles Live?

Sea turtles are fascinating creatures that have captured the attention and imagination of people around the world.

Loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta

One of the most interesting aspects of these animals is their lifespan. Many people wonder, how long do sea turtles live?

The actual documentation of the age of any species of sea turtle is difficult.

However, we do know that sea turtles live a long time and have similar lifespans to humans.

Read more below to have all your questions answered!

Sea Turtle Lifespan

Sea turtles are known for their long lifespans, with some species living up to 50 years or more.

a sea turtle swimming over staghorn coral

However, the upper limit of their potential natural lifespan remains a mystery to scientists.

General Lifespan

Most marine turtles take decades to mature—between 20 and 30 years—and remain actively reproductive for another 10 years.

During this time, they can migrate long distances and encounter various natural predators, such as sharks and crocodiles.

Despite these challenges, sea turtles have evolved to live long lives in their natural habitat.

The lifespan of sea turtles varies depending on the species, size, metabolism, water temperature, and habitat.

For instance, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has a shorter lifespan of around 30 years, while the green sea turtle can live up to 80 years.

The leatherback sea turtle, on the other hand, can live up to 100 years or more.

Factors Affecting Lifespan

Several factors can affect the lifespan of sea turtles. One of the most significant factors is human impact, such as pollution, habitat destruction, and poaching.

These activities can reduce the availability of food, increase the risk of disease and injury, and disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Another factor that affects the lifespan of sea turtles is water temperature. Some species of sea turtles, such as the loggerhead, are more sensitive to changes in water temperature than others.

Warmer water temperatures can affect their metabolism, growth, and reproductive success, which can ultimately impact their lifespan.

Natural predators also play a role in the lifespan of sea turtles. For instance, hatchlings are vulnerable to predation by birds and crabs, while adult sea turtles can be preyed upon by sharks and crocodiles.

However, sea turtles have evolved several adaptations to protect themselves from predators, such as their hard shells and camouflage.

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